CORK city and county chairperson of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and owner of The Castle Inn Michael O’Donovan has called for the retention of the 9% VAT rate for businesses in Budget 2023, which he said would be “a milestone to keep us competitive looking forward to 2023”.
He said it would help to keep Irish publicans competitive against European neighbours and to attract inbound tourism.
Mr O’Donovan also called for a 7.5% reduction in excise duty in 2023 which he said would cost the exchequer roughly €92.5 million.
He said that energy costs will be the biggest factor going forward that could have major implications on businesses.
“We appreciate that it might be difficult for the Government to give direct money to businesses in energy supports but what we’ve asked for is a supports package in place of that and a right-off of rates for Q1 and Q2 of 2023.
“We’re also looking for something around wage subsidies because every business pays rates to the size of your premises, and everybody has people employed so a wage subsidy would give cash directly back into the business to be able to put against the energy costs and the rates would be a way of giving cash back to the business too.”
Mr O’Donovan said it is “inevitable” that there will be closures in the sector if the Government does not give businesses substantive support.
“We did meetings across Cork County and City and one of the biggest things that came out of the meetings was that publicans up to this month have been looking to go seven or six days a week, those that were only operating four or five.
“They wanted to extend their business and now they’ve all paused and the one thing they’ve all been saying is looking toward October and November and with energy increases down the tracks, if those increases do materialise and the burden is put on the business they’ll even be looking at reducing hours further.
“Tuesday is a key day for businesses. It’s probably similar to what we faced back in summer of 2020 with the pandemic. Unfortunately, if we don’t see substantive supports and help from the Government it’s inevitable that we will see closures in our sector,” he said.