RAI Pre-Budget Submission launch Thursday 28th September

 

For Immediate Release

Thursday 28th September 2017

The Restaurants Association of Ireland’s Pre-Budget Submission signals alarm for Tourism & Hospitality Sector

VAT 9% critical for 2018!

The Restaurants Association of Ireland today launched its Pre-Budget 2018 submission “Sustaining jobs, maintaining competitiveness and delivering certainty for the Restaurant and Tourism Sector”.

The RAI’s Pre-Budget Submission makes recommendations in the following areas; 9% VAT rate, Hospitality Skills and Recruitment, Work Permits, Cost of Doing business and Local Authority Charges, Insurance Premiums, Excise Duty, National Tourism Policy and the Brexit strategy.

Discussing the submission at its launch today in Buswells Hotel, RAI Chief Executive, Adrian Cummins noted that “retaining the 9% VAT rate in particular, is vital to the continuing growth of the tourism and restaurant sector”.

The food service and accommodation sector currently employs 152,200. A 1% increase in VAT would see approximately 6,000 jobs lost in the sector, particularly in the border and midland regions.

Mr Cummins commented, “In our Pre Budget Submission, we set out a number of objectives that needed to be met. We stressed that Budget 2018 needed to put Tourism, Hospitality and Food at the centre of our recovery. The Retention of VAT at 9% into 2018 and beyond is crucial to not only the sustainability of restaurants and businesses in the tourism sector but also to job creation and the continued growth of our economy.” The success of the lower rate of VAT is evident in the 37,800 direct new jobs and 17,388 indirect jobs that have been created since its introduction in 2011.

 

The Restaurants Association of Ireland’s submission proposes actions in the below areas to ensure that the Restaurant and Tourism Sector can continue to recover:

 

Hospitality Skills and Recruitment:

Currently, 1,800 chefs qualify each year from certified culinary training programmes. In 2015, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) report on the Hospitality sector identified a deficit of 5,000 chef trainees annually. The key findings of the EGFSN report found that the skills shortage is across all levels, most notably amongst Chefs and Cooks. Whilst the long-term goals and target number of trainees for the national apprenticeship programme are welcomed, in the short term we are facing a massive crisis in the shortage of skilled labour, most notably among chefs. Educational providers across the IOT’s and ETB’s are creating culinary and hospitality training programmes, building kitchens & training restaurants but there is no one or no body to co-ordinate these actions.

Action:

  • Establish a National Tourism and Hospitality Training Authority
  • Establishing a new body for education, training and recruitment.
  • Short-term Work Permits for Non-EU qualified hospitality workers

 

Insurance Premiums:

Restaurants and other business in the hospitality sector such as hotels, pubs, nightclubs have seen huge hikes in their public liability insurance. These establishments are places of high public footfall. For those who have had a claim in the past five years, and in the case of restaurants, claims are mostly for those who trip/slip, premiums have doubled and in some cases trebled. This is not sustainable for any business. We have even seen some cases where the restaurant has had to close. In some cases, restaurants are finding that if they have had a claim in the past five years, their current insurance provider will not renew their policy.

Actions:

  • New measures to investigate what is driving up insurance costs
  • Personal Injuries Assessment Board: ensure it has ability to collect claims data

 

Local Authority Charges

Commercial rates underpin the entire range of services provided by local authorities. We recognise that local authorities are striving to maintain the delivery of high-quality local services in the face of increasing strained financial resources. However, as a business representative body we cannot dismiss the fact that businesses are now paying more rates for less services.

In some local authority (Urban areas) an additional rates charge has been charged to businesses, known as a Business Improvement District Levy, this BID levy is seen by many as a double taxation. It is mandatory for businesses to pay the levy if they fall into the catchment area. In some areas of the centre members benefit and others they do not. In some areas, restaurants/cafes are also charged for Sandwich Boards outside their premises. This could be a one off yearly fee of €75-€125.

Actions:

  • Comprehensive review of the commercial rates system with the aim of funding local government on a more equitable and sustainable basis. The system as it applies to restaurants is unfair and it needs to change.
  • Introductory ‘holiday rate’ for new restaurants to help them become established.

 

Excise Duty:

Since 2012 excise on wine has increased by 62%. Ireland has the highest wine excise, the second highest in beer excise and the third highest spirits excise in the EU 28. Excise increases not only impact restaurants, hotels and pubs. These increases introduced during the financial crisis as an emergency measure have created significant cash-flow issues for distributors and importers, as many have to pay excise as an up-front cost

Action:

  • Reduction of 15% in excise duty on Wines, Beers & Spirits

 

National Tourism Policy:

The drop off in tourist numbers from Great Britain by almost 7% as for quarter 1 and 2 of 2017 comparative to the same period in 2016 is cause for concern. Recent figures coming from a springboard report commissioned by Dublintown shows footfall in Dublin was down 29% in 2016 compared to 2007, further showing that tourist figures have not returned to pre-recession figures.

Actions:

  • Greater investment in tourism capital then proposed in Governments 2016 – 2022 strategy.
  • Development of “Irelands Lakelands” brand – including infrastructure
  • A €12 million Brexit fund for the Tourism industry

 

ENDS

Photo Credit: Paul Sherwood

For more information, please contact:

Adrian Cummins

Chief Executive Officer

Mobile: +353 86 8263311

Telephone: +353 1 6779901

 

Email: adrian@rai.ie

Website: www.rai.ie

Twitter: @RAI_ie

 

More about the KeepVAT9 campaign:

Website: www.keepvat9.ie

Twitter: @keepvat9

Facebook: www.facebook.com/keepvat9