Shannon Chamber welcomes the recommendations contained in the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Report – ‘Policy Options to Support Business Growth and Job Creation and Retention in Town and Village Centres’ – issued yesterday (Thursday, 26 March 2015), which states that:
- Local authorities should consider rate reductions for small, independent businesses in town and city centres.
- Action is taken to relieve businesses of the burden of the Upward Only Rent provision which is suffocating many struggling businesses at present.
- Continued dialogue between Government and pillar banks on charges being levied on small and medium businesses for banking services.
- Tourism bodies should strongly market Irish towns and cities as shopping destinations.
- The wide-spread roll-out of the Town Teams model, as advocated by Retail Excellence Ireland, to bring joined-up thinking, management and co-operation to our town centres involving LEOs, Chambers of Commerce and other local stakeholders.
- Free parking periods for several hours a day in town and village centres is an important measure that should be considered by local authorities.
- A wider use of strategic policing operations in urban and town centres to create a safer environment for consumers and businesses to operate in.
“The heavy burden of rates on business is an issue which Shannon Chamber is actively investigating. Having held a workshop on the topic in early March, we have now formed a small sub-committee of members to examine the effect of rates on business in more detail; this includes their onerous contribution to operating costs. Our aim is to prepare an evidence-based submission to Clare County Council prior to their striking a rate for 2016. This process will include dialogue with the Council and local Councillors.
“Ever conscious of the need to attract tourism to all parts of a county, not just city centres, we have invited the CEO of Tourism Ireland to speak at a luncheon event in May to outline how our towns and rural areas are marketed to an international audience. The Wild Atlantic Way is proving to be a phenomenal success and demonstrates the benefits of themed tourism initiatives. Tourists love to buy Irish when they visit and we fully support a drive to encourage visitors to shop local; Co Clare has so many wonderful artisan producers who need a window to the tourism sector.
“Shannon Chamber will fully support and get involved in and with any initiative that can drive more business to the county and, with representation on Chambers Ireland board, we look forward to playing a meaningful role in the new Team Towns initiative,” added Ms Downes.
Copies of the report are available at www.oireachtas.ie/parliament