President Update – September

I have been harping on for what seems like months now about Minister Noonan’s 2016 Budget. It is now only six weeks away until Budget announcements.  Together, we must remind our local politicians just how successful the VAT reduction has been for the hospitality industry. We must also explain the shortage of chefs, minimum wage and PRSI effects and the crazy excise duty we pay.

Our industry has been unfairly targeted twice with Excise duty increases and Local Authority business rates have increased by 64% in the last year they must stop drawing from a dry well. We as a country have fought back greatly with fantastic initiatives with great value dining, top tourism initiatives, like the Wild Atlantic Way as well as over 34,000 jobs created in the sector since 2011. We must continue to prove to the government that we as restaurants are still passing on the savings to customers and tourists.

One of the major hold backs in offering value for money is the high excise on wine, the highest in the EU. Tax on wine has increased 62% in the past two years. Ireland’s duty on wine is over 600% higher than the EU average and is 280% higher for beer and 230% higher for spirits. We as a nation must be proud of what we have to offer but we need the governments help on this.

I personally feel sorry with tourists that come to my restaurant at how much I have to charge them for a simple bottle of wine, especially when a glass of wine with a meal should be the most natural thing in the world.

One interesting fact and I’m talking whiskey we  now have 26 independent distillers but a tourist will pay an average of €29.18 for a litre of Irish whiskey here while in the US it costs €16.61 and in Germany €17.56.

The current high level of excise duty on alcohol is completely unfair on all small businesses and I have no doubt that our alcohol taxes have damaged our image abroad. Please continue to talk to your local representatives about these high costs.

Finally, branch meetings which kick off on September 14th in Galway. Please stick these dates in your diary as they are well worth attending.  Presentations from our CEO Adrian Cummins on PRSI/Calories on Menus/Excise & more as well as an employment law update, Recruitment partner Jobbio and payment services Elavon.

Finally, I would just like to say I look forward to meeting and discussing the local issues with as many of you as possible at these events.

Slan go foillin,

Anthony Gray

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