Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), Ireland’s largest retail industry body which represents many Tipperary businesseshas today expressed disappointment with a number of Budget interventions which will damage the Irish Retail industry. A positive is the retention of the 9% VAT rate which will drive employment in the labour intensive hospitality sector. The Retail Industry is Ireland’s largest private industry employing 255,000 people. Key retail interventions include –
- The retention of the 9% VAT rate for labour intensive product categories. David Fitzsimons, REI CEO said “It is clear that the reduction of the VAT rate from 13.5% to 9% in last year’s Budget has had a very positive impact on job retention and creation. According to the Department of Finance the measure retained and created 13,500 jobs. We are pleased that Minister Noonan has accepted our argument and retained the rate”.
- The increase in the Tobacco licencing fee from €50 to €500 per annum. David Fitzsimons, REI CEO said “It is disappointing that instead of tackling black market illicit tobacco sales, the Government have instead penalised the legitimate and regulated tobacco seller. The tenfold increase in the fee will damage smaller convenience store retailers who have already suffered an exponential decrease in sales. These retailers have compliantly introduced non branded tobacco storage units and have rigorously abided by the law. The illicit trader will be delighted with this intervention”.
- The increase in the pharmacy dispensing fee from €1.50 to €2.50. David Fitzsimons, REI CEO said “It is clear that the increase in the dispensing fee will lead GMS patients to forgo their prescribed drugs and as a result the health service will be negatively impacted in time. It is our view that this measure will lead 1 in 5 patients to forgo certain prescribed drugs which will have a significant and negative impact on patient health”.
- The Government have extended the period that an employer must fund sick pay for an employee from 3 to 6 days. David Fitzsimons, REI CEO has said “This quite simply is a further barrier to employment and could in effect drive absenteeism rates”.