Time To Consider Levy on multiples

Levy would provide a more level playing field for under threat small retailers

Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has called for the introduction of a levy on large ‘multiple’ retailers which she believes are forcing smaller retail outlets out of business. The levy could be used to fund a reduction in rates for smaller businesses in our towns and villages, many of which are having difficulty surviving.

“I am increasingly concerned about the impact on small businesses, especially in small towns where the heartbeat of town is being swallowed up by the larger multinationals. While smaller retailers are increasingly pressed, large multiples are reporting massive profits as their share of the market increases.

“Small businesses are struggling to survive as a result of the economic downturn, the increase in multiple retailers and an inability to pay commercial rates to their local authorities. Meanwhile large retailers are reporting massive profits as they expand throughout the country.

“I believe that a levy on large retailers would help level the playing field. It would fund a reduction in commercial rates on smaller businesses and help smaller retailers stay in business and keep their staff in employment.

“This measure has been introduced in Northern Ireland. The changes introduced a re-evaluation of rates on commercial premises with a rateable value of more than £500,000. It affects 76 large shops and will raise £5 million to fund rates cuts for small retailer. This has led to 8,200 small businesses (10% of NI business premises) benefitting from a 20% discount on their rates since April 2012. I believe that a similar situation in the Republic of Ireland would help many small retailers stay in business and keep many people in their jobs.

“Small retailers are significant employers and are the heartbeat of our cities, towns and villages. They are where people meet and converse and provide an highly important social function in the community. This type of intimacy is not available in local supermarkets. Small retailers in small towns and villages are being particularly hard hit by the arrival of multiples in their proximity.

“I believe that we should promote a more diverse retail scene. I fully appreciate the convenience of large multiples, however I fear that if we allow the situation to continue unchecked, the institution of the local shop will be considerably affected. I believe our communities would be the worse for this.”

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