The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) is urging the Government to engage immediately with the hospitality sector to clarify what supports are now available for its members following the publication of Budget 2024.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD, announced a €250m package for business; there was no details about who can apply or what the supports will entail.
The VFI says its members will be disappointed about the lack of detail but that any support must be viewed in the context of the recent 4.5% VAT increase for the hospitality sector and the refusal of the government to lower the excise rate, which is the second highest in Europe.
Pat Crotty, chief executive, VFI, said: “It’s extraordinary that details of a €250m package for businesses are unavailable on Budget day, with the result that our members remain completely in the dark. The Minister said in his Budget statement that local businesses are the ‘backbone’ of the economy, but he needs to follow through with meaningful support for our sector.
“Any intervention that sees small businesses make a saving is positive but the sheer amount of rising costs faced by our members is a huge concern. Energy costs are still more than double where they were two years ago, food and drink inputs have seen serious inflation, insurance premiums continue to grow while the national minimum wage increase will see labour costs rise by over 10% in the coming months.The combination of these cost factors create serious viability concerns for members.”
Crotty concluded, “We’re also disappointed that, once again, the government has refused to lower Europe’s second highest excise rate. It’s a ridiculous situation particularly in the context of the tourist trade where we are competing with countries that sell products at a fraction our members have to charge.”