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VAT increase will be disastrous for small businesses on the border – Munster

11 October, 2018 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster TD has criticised the decision by government to raise the VAT rate from 9% to 13.5% across the tourism sector, as announced in Budget 2019 this week.

Sinn Féin are of the opinion that an increase across the board is too large a burden for smaller businesses in the sector to take.

Deputy Munster said:

“The decrease in VAT was announced as a temporary measure when the industry was on its knees. Thankfully matters have improved, however this does not mean that an across the board increase to 13.5% is appropriate. I am of the opinion that it will be very difficult for smaller businesses and restaurants to absorb such a steep increase.

“Sinn Féin had advocated for an increase for hotels, in particular given the thriving hotel industry in the east of the country, however we must treat like with like, and large hotel chains can hardly be compared to small local businesses. An incremental increase, or a lower increase would have been less of a burden, but the government insisted on the full increase of 4.5%.

“In border areas many businesses are seasonal, and are struggling to run profitable businesses. Brexit is going to have a disproportionate effect on the border region too, which is an additional problem for businesses to contend with.

“Sinn Féin is calling on the government to examine other ways to support these businesses, perhaps through local authority rates or other measures. We will continue to pursue this matter.”

Deputy Munster also called on Fianna Fáil TDs to get off the fence after they abstained on the vote, thus allowing it to pass. Sinn Féin voted against the measure, saying:

“A succession of Fianna Fáil TDs spoke against the increase in the Dáil this week, yet they abstained on the vote, thus ensuring that the measure passed. This is cynical to the extreme. My constituency colleague lamented the inevitability of the measure passing, despite the fact that it was his own party’s abstention that allowed the vote to pass.” 

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