The ‘Small and Medium Enterprise Support Scheme’, the first of its kind in Limerick, was introduced for the first time last year and resulted in support payments totalling €55,820 being made to 431 individuals and companies.
The actual Commercial Rates collected as a direct result of the scheme was in excess of €1.5 million, which the Council’s Finance Department says “contributed in no small way” in helping to reduce the level of arrears on the Rate Account at the end of 2014.
“As well as helping to reduce the level of arrears on the Commercial Rate Account, the monies paid in support of the scheme also went back in to the local economy which helped sustain business growth,” said Tom Gilligan, Director of Services, Finance Department.
“We have been inundated with calls from customers requesting details of the scheme and wanting to obtain application forms. Given this positive level of feedback, the Finance Department is proposing to adopt a similar scheme for 2015 and intends bringing it to the Elected Members for approval at the next Council meeting,” he added.
The ‘Small and Medium Enterprise Support Scheme’, which operated in 2014, provided financial support to occupiers of commercial properties with a total annual commercial rate demand of up to and including €10,000 but not less than €750. The support payments, aimed specifically at small and medium-sized enterprises, ranges between €50 and €300 depending on the annual cost of commercial rates for the rate paying applicant.
The scheme operated on the basis that commercial rates, including arrears, relating to the relevant account were to be paid by the end of July 2014. However, in order to encourage customers to pay on line applicants paying by Direct Debit were also eligible for the scheme provided the commercial rates account was paid in full by the end of December. Support payments were then processed on receipt of a completed application form, as per the relevant terms and conditions and successful applicants paid via electronic funds transfer.