IHF Chief Executive Tim Fenn stated that the measure mooted by the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton would place a disproportionate and unjustifiable burden on small businesses throughout the economy.
He called on the Government to abandon plans to impose additional costs on SMEs, stating, “The proposal is anti-business and detrimental to SMEs, particularly in vulnerable areas of the economy such as the hotels sector. SMEs will be the backbone of any recovery in the economy but only if supported by Government policies that promote cost competitiveness and the creation of employment.
“From a tourism perspective, the imposition of additional costs by the Department of Social Protection works against other Government initiatives targeted at supporting the industry,” he stated, “This will result in a reduction in employment among hotels and guesthouses which are already struggling to achieve viability in a very challenging business environment”.
The hotels sector has experienced a drastic decline in business since 2007 and struggles to deal with decimated revenues caused by low room rates and excess room capacity. Hotels and guesthouses employ 54,000 people in every county and town across the country, he pointed out.