With Irish restaurateurs currently paying the highest catering wage rate in Europe and Ireland’s food cost inputs 24 per cent above the continent’s average, the plan outlines a series of ‘urgent actions needed now’ in order for the country’s restaurant sector to recover.
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the RAI, said: “This Budget shouldn’t be about adding more taxes and stealth charges to small business and restaurants so we keep the Troika happy. Budget 2012 should be about jobs, jobs and jobs.
“Creating a fat tax will cost jobs. Making Employers pay four weeks sick leave will cost jobs. And increasing excise duty will drive consumers to the North of Ireland costing jobs in the Border counties.”
The RAI’s 10-point plan is as follows: -
- Identify 2012 as the Year of Hospitality “Bring back the smile”
- Restore Consumer Confidence – Deliver a Clear Message
- Reduction of Commercial Rates / Charges and Regulatory Burden.
- Establishment of EventsIreland and Streamlining Tourism Agencies
- Investment in training and job creation.
- Introduction of composite VAT rates on Dining out and retention of 9% rate on Restaurant Services.
- Reintroduction of recoverability of VAT on Corporate Dining.
- Introduction of capital allowances for investment in the restaurant sector.
- Reduction in Excise Duty.
- Tackling Obesity in Ireland. Establishment of Food and Health Eating in the Primary/Secondary School Syllabus.
Earlier this year, BigHospitality reported that the Irish Government cut VAT for hotels and restaurants from 13.5 per cent to 9 per cent. The Irish restaurant industry currently employs 64,000 people, contributing €2bn to the Irish economy each year.