Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Finance
The purpose of the Stay and Spend tax credit was to provide targeted support to businesses within the hospitality sector whose operations were likely to be most affected by restrictions. It provided relief direct to the consumer rather than the business.
The Stay and Spend tax credit was a demand led tax measure rather than a voted direct expenditure instrument. As the Deputy will appreciate, direct expenditure measures of the type raised in the question are matters, in the first instance, for the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
The scheme was developed at a time last year when there appeared to be a steady downward trend in infection rates and there was an expectation that the re-opening of the economy could be sustained uninterrupted.
Unfortunately, this was not the case and, with the exception of some short periods, public health restrictions had the effect of impeding the operation of the incentive as originally envisaged.
To the extent that spending on the scheme may have been less than the original cost estimate, this of course means that we need to borrow less and accumulate less debt.