Butchers face ‘disappearance’ as bureaucracy hampers aid

Rising energy costs are “just the tip of the iceberg” of the increased costs butcher shops across the country are being forced to bear, a family butcher said.

Ames Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Butchers in Co Carlow, urged the government to provide more targeted aid, saying it could set up a committee for a weather alert but not a committee for businesses facing closure.

The fourth-generation butcher, whose family has operated from the same premises on Church Street in Tullow since 1909, said his electricity bill was three times higher than last year and now stands at around £100 a day.

“It’s crazy — it’s €6,000 every two months, like it’s cheeky enough for a small business,” he said.

“Something has to be done. You can have a committee for a severe weather warning, an orange or red alert for an approaching storm, but we can’t set it up for stores that are closing left, right and center.

“Energy is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything has worked out. Packaging has doubled due to increased transport during Covid.

“It’s doubled in size and never really run down. A roll of cling film went from €40 to €80. It’s doubled. Simple things like labels – our labels have increased by 40 pieces.

“It’s not just the energy bill that’s coming through the door. They need some sort of contingency committee to look at the total cost of business.”

Mr Murphy described the red tape involved in accessing the government’s existing business supports as “frustrating”.

He said the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) is causing stress for small business owners across the country amid the cost of living crisis.

“The biggest issue right now is how everything is set up to get you to get those solar panel grants and get money back on your electric bills,” Mr. Murphy said. “There is too much bureaucracy.

TBESS allows eligible businesses to claim 40 percent of increases in their energy bills.

“If you are a household, the electricity company has given you €200 off this source. You didn’t have to apply,” said Mr. Murphy. “It was all uncomplicated while we have to turn to Revenue again. There’s a lot of paperwork in there. It should be done at the source for everyone’s convenience.”

Dave Lang, development manager at Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland, said increased costs are hurting butcher shops across the country.

“It’s in a state of crisis,” he said. “We’ve lost butcher shops and we’re going to lose a few more in January.

“You’re going to act until Christmas because, you know, you’ve been working all of 2022, you’re not going to throw it away and you’re going to wrap everything up in early December.

“They will continue until Christmas to make a few pounds, but we expect some to close in January.”

He agreed with Mr Murphy that costs are rising across the board.

His organization immediately calls for targeted support for the artisan butchers, since their energy costs are higher than in many other small businesses.

“The government said when the TBESS program runs for three months they will review it, but that will be February,” Mr Lang said.

“Some of our guys will be gone by then and not coming back.”

“We are really in danger of disappearing. I mean thousands of butchers have gone down the drain in the last 20 years.”

He warned that butcher shops will continue to close if the government “checks things out”.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/butchers-are-in-danger-of-disappearing-as-red-tape-hinders-aid-42247620.html Butchers face ‘disappearance’ as bureaucracy hampers aid

Fry Electronics Team

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