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VFI calls for rates cut & ban on below-cost sales

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has reiterated its call to the Government to introduce measures to help save the pub industry.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has reiterated its call to the Government to introduce measures to help save the pub industry.  Recent reports show that more than 1,000 rural pubs have not renewed their licence in the last 12 months with over 550 pubs expected to close this year.
These ongoing pub closures and inevitable job losses are further proof that the pub trade needs support, claims the VFI. The below-cost selling of alcohol by supermarkets and high rate charges are blamed for this decline.
The VFI is therefore calling on the government to introduce measures to prohibit the below-cost selling and the practice of irresponsible marketing and promotion of alcohol in supermarkets as well as a to introduce a 25 per cent reduction in rates back to 2002 levels, in line with the current cost of living.
VFI President Gerry Mellett said, “More than a pub a day is closing and we estimate that 3,000 jobs have been lost in the last six months alone. Hopefully the government will listen to us before it is too late.
“The situation is now critical but the decline is not irreversible. If the government is willing to support us by banning the irresponsible selling of alcohol as a loss-leader by the supermarkets and by cutting rates then jobs will be saved and Irish pubs will continue to trade. We need support and we need it now or we will continue to haemorrhage jobs.
“We are calling for a 25 per cent decrease in rates back to 2002 levels to help support small businesses and last weeks’ hike in electricity prices was most unwelcome and very poorly timed. Water and commercial rates are still way too high.”
The VFI calculates that 1,500 pubs have closed in the last five years and since June 2006, 20,000 jobs have been lost.  Rural Ireland in particular is taking a hammering with shops, post offices, Garda stations and now pubs closing at a phenomenal rate. The VFI strongly believes that the closure of rural pubs is leading to more rural isolation and the increase in home drinking is having a negative effect, leading to binge-drinking and more drink-related health issues.

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