Dáil debates

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Tourism Industry

11:30 am

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I share the Deputy's frustration with regard to the ESB and agree there should be better co-ordination to support businesses in towns and villages when particular maintenance has to be done. It is unfortunate that a day's business has been lost. There should be better engagement on such matters.

On the Deputy's wider points, I will raise the issue of the cost of card payments with the Minister for Finance. On the reduced VAT rate, as the Deputy knows, in line with the recommendation in the tourism recovery plan a reduced VAT rate of 9% for the sector was introduced from 1 November 2020. It was originally designed to apply until the end of 2021 but this was extended to 31 August 2022 and later to February 2023. Thousands of tourism and hospitality businesses across the country did not have to apply different VAT rates during the year which further enabled them to stabilise their businesses. The reduced VAT rate promoted business survival, supported employment and helped somewhat to stabilise prices in the sector during what was a very difficult time because of Covid. The reduced VAT rate has been a very important element of the business supports secured for the sector in the last two years as it is being rebuilt. The Minister for Finance has referenced the reduced VAT rate as one of a number of supports the Government provided for tourism and hospitality businesses over the course of the pandemic but it was designed as a temporary measure, with a sunset clause included in the enacting legislation. The rate will be kept under review, as the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht and Sport, Deputy Catherine Martin, has stated previously.

The Government fully acknowledges the impact of inflation and the economic stresses and difficulties that businesses are facing, including food and energy costs, increased wages in a very competitive labour market, and the cost of insurance. That is why the Government is providing significant support. There is a lot of co-ordination between the tourism and hospitality sector, the Minister and the Tánaiste. The Government will really try to partner and support businesses over the winter period.


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