Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Kathryn Reilly (Sinn Fein)
I am very much in opposition to this section and my party proposes that it be opposed. I dealt with this thoroughly in my Second Stage speech yesterday. VAT increases, as I stated, are regressive and are going a long way towards killing domestic demand.
As someone from the Border county of Cavan, I see the effect of VAT increases. Only a few weeks ago, I was shopping in Dundalk when someone said to me that this is ludicrous and asked would I not just go up the road to Newry where it is so much cheaper, not only in terms of areas such as clothing. The VAT increase affects: alcohol, car parts, CDs, computers, cosmetics, detergents, fridges, furniture, hardware, jewellery, machinery, lawnmowers, pet food, paper, tobacco, toys, tools, washing machines, bottled water, petrol, diesel. These are real products that people buy on a daily basis.
The retail sector is already put to the pin of its collar, especially in the Border areas. In the furniture sector, for example, there was a strong furniture cluster in the Monaghan-Cavan area and it has already taken a direct hit hard. It was a large employer. Personally, I know of many businesses around my area that have gone out of business, but this VAT increase, and the state of the retail sector in general, will further exacerbate the problem.
As the retail sector is by and large such a large employer, especially in the Border areas where there have not been significant inflows of FDI, this VAT increase is not feasible and will not do the domestic economy any good. That is why we in Sinn Féin oppose this section and we urge the Minister to reconsider.