Offaly TD calls government 'out of touch' over tourism VAT hike
Independent TD for Offaly, Carol Nolan has slammed the increase in VAT rate for the tourism sector which came into effect on January 1.
In last October's budget, the government moved to reinstate the longstanding 13.5% rate for the sector, something that had been reduced to 9% during the recession.
This VAT rate applies to small restaurants, bars, hotels and hair salons but Deputy Nolan, who opposed the increase in October's budget, said that the huge increase in VAT rate from 9% to 13.5% is "a very unfair hike which will have a negative impact on small businesses outside of Dublin currently struggling to keep their doors open."
"I have been contacted in recent weeks by a number of very concerned business owners throughout Offaly and Laois.
The government seem to have ignored rural Ireland and the fact that businesses such as restaurants, bars, hotels and hair salons provide much-needed employment in counties like Offaly and Laois."
"The increase from 9%to 13.5% will have an adverse impact on businesses in small towns and villages throughout Offaly and Laois. You cannot compare a business in Dublin City centre with one in a small town or village in Offaly or Laois," Carol said.
"It must be highlighted that many of these businesses have already had to endure extortionate rates hikes and insurance hikes, and to expect them to pay an increase in VAT is adding insult to injury."
"The fact that this VAT increase is being imposed on businesses at a time when there is still much uncertainty about the effects of Brexit is ludicrous and clearly shows that the government is out of touch with reality and the genuine concerns of small businesses."
"The tourism sector provides over 235,000 jobs annually, many of these jobs are in regional and rural areas, and there is no doubt but that many of these jobs will now be under serious threat."
Deputy Nolan concluded by saying that "the unfair VAT hike will discourage people from starting their own business and will stifle progress and the potential for economic growth in regional areas."