Deputy Michael Lowry is expressing shock at what he calls the cold dismissal of the plight of small and medium business operators by Finance Minister Michael McGrath.
Despite pleas from several TDs the Minister confirmed there are “no plans to change the VAT rate… that is not going to happen,” leaving countless businesses teetering on the brink of closure without the lifeline they desperately need.
The Regional Group TDs, say they are frustrated and disappointed to witness the devastating toll that high VAT and PRSI rates are taking on food businesses within the hospitality sector.
The Group including Deputy Lowry want the Government to reverse its stance and provide what it calls “the essential support SMEs urgently require including the immediate reduction in VAT in food business to 9% instead of the present 13.5% rate.” The Minister has previously stated that reverting to a 9% VAT rate for food in the hospitality sector would cost €570m annually with possibly some difficulty in determining how to charge package deals that include accommodation and food if a special lower rate was introduced for Food only instead of Food and Accommodation both remaining at 13.%5.
Business closures cost precious jobs but also erode the charm and vitality of our communities especially in rural areas according to the group with family-run businesses being described as “the cornerstones of community interaction and social cohesion.”
Deputy Lowry says Government inaction cannot be allowed to dim the vibrant spirit of our nation’s towns and villages.