Shannon and Ennis Chambers, on behalf of the 500 member companies they represent, have expressed their disappointment with the 3.8% rates increase signed off by Clare County Councillors last Friday.
The Chambers have stated that the decision is very much at odds with other Government decisions and acceptance that businesses still need support to enable them to overcome the challenges they have faced since the onset of COVID-19 and continue to face, as cases rise, and a new variant has been detected.
Having been made aware, at very short notice, that such an increase was to be voted on, the Chambers had called for a deferral of such a decision to facilitate engagement with the multi-sectoral client base they represent, whose contribution to the economy of Co Clare, financially and otherwise, is substantial and reflects their commitment to the county.
“Companies have shown tremendous resilience in how they are coping with the pandemic, reorganising their work patterns to sustain their operations and retain much needed jobs in the county. A decision of this nature, which will add to their cost base in Co Clare, should have been arrived at in consultation with the businesses it impacts.
“Feedback from members we have spoken to in the past few days is that the increase is unwelcome particularly when rates in neighbouring counties are less onerous. Many businesses are struggling with cash flow and have welcomed the waiver they received in 2020/2021. They would not be expecting a return to full rates, much less an increase.
“Business needs to be given time to recover. Engaging with them via the Chamber prior to the increase being sanctioned would have enabled companies to assess and present their views of the financial impact of a rates’ increase. An increase as passed could, over time, negatively impact future investment decisions in the county,” the Chambers stated.