Concerns over businesses not re-opening yet being liable for 25% vacant levy

A Leitrim councillor is expressing serious concern that businesses who can’t reopen their doors yet because of Covid-19 regulations may be hit with a 25% rates bill anyway.

Councillor Ita Renyolds raised the issue at the monthly meeting of the local authority in recent days asking if the 25% vacant premises levy voted in by the council in 2018 would still stand for businesses that can’t reopen right now.

Council officials said that because the levy was part of the budgetary process the council couldn’t take any decision yet to suspend it and it would have to be revisited in November.

It was also pointed out that the levy had been imposed as a means of achieving occupancy for vacant premises, and the local authority would have to wait to see if central government would be issuing a waiver system for businesses affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Councillor Reynolds says a 25% levy is putting an extra worry and cost on business owners who are not sure when or if they can reopen their doors again.