13 April 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork East, Kevin O’Keeffe has said that food businesses are being put under significant pressure as a result of being forced to pay levies for tables and chairs outside their premises to the County Council in addition to business rates.
Deputy O’Keeffe made the comments after meeting with a number of owners of cafes and restaurants in the constituency who are concerned about the viability of their businesses.
“Commercial rates are paid by cafes, restaurants, and other businesses based on the market rental value. By virtue of their location in town centres, they pay higher commercial rates than other out of town centres.
“To my mind, it is totally unfair then to charge these very same businesses extra to have tables and chairs outside of their premises.
“These are crucial requirements, especially during the summer months, when tourists flock to towns and villages along the coast.
“The County Council needs to look at this double charging of businesses, especially those in the food industry, and ensure that they aren’t cutting their nose to spite their face.
“There’s no point charging levies for having chairs and tables on the pavement if it risks the financial viability of the business.
“The recovery is fragile; margins are still quite low, and with the potential of increased commercial rates following the review that is currently underway, many café and restaurant owners are deeply concerned about their inability to keep their commitments.
“Cork County Council should look at reducing or waiving the table and chair levies for cafes and restaurants that are already paying high commercial rates. It’s better in the long run for our town and village centres,” concluded O’Keeffe.