Energy Levy “another hammer blow” – VFI
The recent announcement by the Government and the Commission for Energy Regulation concerning plans to introduce a new levy leading to an increase in electricity prices has been described as “yet another hammer blow to small businesses” by VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben.
“This latest announcement and the proposed energy levy could not have come at a worse time for the pub industry and small businesses throughout Ireland,” he commented recently, “Publicans are being hit from all angles by this Government and at a time when the Live Register is grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons, this measure will only make things worse for employers and businesses around the country.
“We have long been advocates of a reduction in rates to help our members but instead of a reduction in rates what we get is a public service levy that will add an estimated five per cent to electricity prices. This levy and rise in energy costs will put a huge strain on our members who are already over-stretched.
“This is not just empty rhetoric,” he continued, “Everything that we have been saying over the past few months about over-regulation squeezing the life out of our trade and small businesses the length and breadth of Ireland has been backed up by this. Over the past two years our members have been doing everything possible to maximise the reduction in energy usage. Their reward is a slap in the face and a five per cent increase in unit cost.
“As recently as last month, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) mid-year report outlined that in the first five months of 2010 pub sales decreased by 14.6 per cent and the trade is suffering. The decline of the industry has affected the Live Register to the tune of 20,000 people in the last few years. The pub industry blatantly needs support, not extra charges.
“It is time for the Government to take a hard look at the impact measures like these have on the pub industry and indeed on all small and medium businesses everywhere in this country.
“We are haemorrhaging jobs as our pubs close or reduce hours. 1,500 pubs have closed in the last three years; that’s one pub closing every day in Ireland with subsequent job losses”.
This latest measure will only exacerbate this problem “… and we are in for a very long, painful and cold winter,” he concluded.