Thursday, 29 September 2022
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
While I acknowledge that there is lots of Government engagement with the sector, ultimately there is a significant discrepancy between what tourism and hospitality businesses in Cork south west are telling me and the messaging from the Minister of State, his Department and others. The Government must be getting similar briefings to the ones I am getting but the urgency and need is not being reflected in Government policy or in the budget. I recognise that this is a cross-departmental matter and appreciate the Minister of State saying that he will talk to various Ministers about the other relevant issues.
The Minister of State's Department is responsible for tourism which is a major employer, especially in rural areas, where communities are solely dependent on tourism and agriculture. I recognise what the Government has said about the VAT rate but the point I am trying to make is that there is such a profound difference between how businesses operate in rural areas and how they operate in Dublin. If it is necessary to increase the hospitality VAT rate, can the Government provide more targeted supports for businesses in rural areas? One cannot compare the kind of price gouging by hotels in the capital city with how hotels operate in more rural areas. Somehow the Government could not figure out how to target particular households in the context of the energy crisis but it did manage to figure out how to do it for businesses. Will the Department look at more targeted supports for businesses in more rural areas that cannot operate in the same way as the urban-based hotels, restaurants and cafés? Such businesses are the single largest employer in many towns and villages.