Fiona Lewis CEO of County Wexford Chamber said “We have heard over recent days how businesses can contact the Council to discuss repayment plans if they are in difficulty – well I challenge you to walk along the streets of our towns and point out the ones that are not in difficulty. Allowing people to contact the Council and apply for a freeze is not enough, and only adds to the uncertainty which surrounds them.”
In the sentiments of the late Betty Williams Peace Activist and Nobel Prize winning laureate, ‘compassion needs to be to the fore in decision making’.
Those most affected by this national pandemic are the same people who have only just recovered from the banking and financial crisis. Their heads were just above water, negative equity had begun to disappear, retained profits were in sight, and the business owners were beginning to plan for the future. They deserve compassion. They deserve consideration.
Wexford Council in turn needs to lead in calling for Central Government to support all Councils around the country to deliver this rates moratorium.
In his address this week the Taoiseach referred to watching what is happening (around the world) in response to the spread of Covid-19. If that is the case he will be aware that Boris Johnson have provided a twelve month moratorium on rates to the retail and the hospitality sectors. County Wexford Chamber say our Taoiseach should do the same.
Mr Varadkar also said that Government bodies must show solidarity in this time of national sacrifice. Our members have made significant sacrifices – adopting social distancing, and in worse cases closing their businesses to curtail the spread of the virus. Those sacrifices should be acknowledged, and our members should not have to beg for reasonable support.
In these unchartered times, we need definitive monetary support for our members and so we are calling for the abolition of commercial rates for a minimum twelve month period.