Rates incentive to target vacant units countywide

Cllr Padraig Loughrey (FF).
New business who set up in previously unoccupied units across Co Longford look set to benefit from a rates incentive scheme.

New business who set up in previously unoccupied units across Co Longford look set to benefit from a rates incentive scheme.

Local authority bosses are expected to thrash out the finer terms of the strategy with a sub committee of local councillors and business representatives over the coming weeks.

Under the new structures firms who avail of units that are on Longford Co Council’s Vacant Premises Register can secure a 75 per cent rates rebate in their first year in business.

In years two and three, the grant falls to 50 per cent and 25 per cent, provided the firm in question is rates compliant.

Elected members from Longford County Council’s Economic Development and Enterprise Strategic Policy Committee spoke at length on the topic at a meeting on Monday.

Head of Local Enterprise, Michael Nevin said the idea was based on a similar scheme currently underway in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

“It’s a scheme for vacant units only,” he said, stating however the new policy would be “cost neutral” to the Council.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Padraig Loughrey said while he agreed in principal with the proposal, it was important existing businesses were not left out in the cold.

Chairperson and fellow Fianna Fáil Cllr Seamus Butler agreed.

As one of three members on a sub committee charged with executing the scheme’s overall design, Cllr Butler revealed a “displacement clause” would be inserted to close off any underlying loopholes.