Local Authorities “destroying” small rural restaurants

The Restaurants Association of Ireland is calling for a reduction in Local Authority Rates and a radical improvement of efficiencies within local authorities as it warns of inevitable job losses in rural communities with local authorities continuing to increase rates and destroy small restaurants.

Based on a recent business survey carried out by the RAI, most participants have experienced an increase in their rate charges in the last five years despite the poor trading conditions with several rural restaurateurs saying that the valuation of rates are on par with large urban towns.

The RAI stated that:
*        Ireland is the most expensive country in Europe to run a restaurant with restaurateurs paying on average €23,278 in  rates per annum

*        Annual water charges vary from up to €12,500 in urban areas to €5,000 in rural areas

*        Water charges set to increase with introduction of Irish Water

*        Waste licence fee has increased from €1,200 to €4,000

*        Many restaurants pay in excess of €20,000 annually in waste charges

*        Restaurants have to deal with 25 different agencies and authorities in the day-to-day running of their business.

“This is an issue that crops-up again and again at every regional meeting – and will continue to be an issue if it is not dealt with,” commented RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins, “Our industry survey revealed that restaurants trading in rural areas of Ireland are still being charged exorbitant rates that don’t reflect the trading landscape in Ireland over the past few years.
“Many restaurants, especially in rural areas, don’t see any return on the rates they pay. Issues like waste and water treatment, street maintenance and availability of parking should be managed more efficiently and effectively by local authorities, but restaurateurs are having to carry the high cost of these necessities.”

The Irish restaurant industry employs 64,000 people (one in every four tourism jobs) and contributes €2 billion to the Irish economy each year despite Irish restaurateurs paying the highest catering wage rate in Europe, he pointed out.
“Ireland has the highest excise duty on wines in Europe and Irish food cost inputs are 24% above the European average,” he added.?

He was speaking during the RAI’s recent Restaurant Symposium which was chaired by RTÉ hospitality personality John Healy.

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