13 Aug 2022

Business could fail and income from rates drop warns councillor

No supports, no economic development warns Cllr Martin Harley

Business could fail and income from rates drop warns councillor

Ballybofey businessesman Cllr Martin Harley (inset) who has called for more support to cope with inflation

Fears that the increases in the cost of power and oil will put Donegal companies out of business were highlighted at the recent meeting of the Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District by Ballybofey-based councillor, Martin Harley.

He warned if they go out of business, valuable rates revenue would diminish and leave Donegal County Council

Cllr Martin Harley said in terms of all municipal districts trying to promote economic development going forward they needed to act right away.

"I think we need to write to the government expressing our concerns about rising prices. ESB and oil prices have increased by between 100% and 200% over the past year. This is going to cripple businesses over the winter. Mortgage interest rates are also rising. 

"If no supports are put in place a lot of businesses may not survive. That's not scaremongering, that's a fact. I know from talking to business people already they tell me they just don't know how they will survive, even with the way prices have gone up at the moment."

He added when they as a council was talking about economic development, this was the main area they needed to be addressing. He proposed it be brought up again when the full council meets in September.

"I know the banks have said they are not going to put the interest rate increase on to loans at the moment but I know there will be another increase, probably by September, and they will pass that one on to the customer.

He warned the council's finances would be badly affected if businesses continued to take a hammering.

"The more businesses close the less we get from rates so it's important that we highlight this to the government to get them to put some kind of structure in place that can save jobs and businesses. By saving businesses our rates will stay in place."

Cllr Harley said he didn't know exactly how to tackle the problem but asked the government to perhaps look at doing the same thing they did at the start of Covid.

"They gave businesses rebates on their rates. We need to look at something like this again," he said.

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