CORK Chamber has expressed disappointment at the decision by Cork City Council and Cork County Council not to reduce commercial rates for 2012, a system which is grossly unfair on the productive job-creating aspects of the business community.
Cork Chamber Chief Executive Conor Healy said, “Cork Chamber recognises the hard decisions taken by both Councils in preparing balanced budgets, particularly in light of incessant reductions to the local government fund.
“It is however extremely disappointing that the Council’s were not in a position to pass on the benefits of their reductions in expenditure and enhanced efficiencies through a reduction in commercial rates to the business community.
“The decision by both Councils to continue to ring fence 1 per cent of rates income for economic development measures is welcome, though we would have hoped that the percentage to be ring fenced would be increased in the future in order to foster growing businesses and ensure a strong rate base.
“The Chamber also calls for greater transparency around the allocation of the ring fenced funds, in addition to real measurement data to assess the impact of the ring fenced funds on the economic development of the region.
“Cork Chamber is extremely concerned at the significant cuts to the Local Government Fund (LGF) once again for 2012 and calls on Government to make an urgent commitment that any income raised locally through water charges, the household charge and increased motor taxes are ring fenced for local spending.
“Local government needs to be given its own source of income, if we are to create strong local government models, which are properly resourced to foster regional economic development.
“Cork Chamber congratulates the proactive move by Cork City Council to reduce their general development contribution scheme charges by 25 percent for the remaining lifetime of the City Development Plan in an effort to realise the economic stimulus and employment potential associated with large scale development,” he said.