Karen Sharkey, from the popular Red Store Bar and Restaurant in Youghal, Co Cork, says Budget 2023 will define the future for many Irish businesses.
It’s about keeping the reduced VAT rate and urgently doing something about the rising energy prices,” she said. “I think the VAT rate is a no-brainer. The economy is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and no sector has been hit harder than hospitality and tourism.
“The reduced VAT rate was very important for us to bring customers back and offer tourists and day-trippers the best possible value for money.
Energy prices are a concern for all business people
“With inflationary pricing pressures in Ireland, I think offering customers value for money will be very important in the coming weeks and months.”
Ms Sharkey said the government could easily afford to extend the lower VAT rate for another year, given buoyant government revenues.
She pointed out how towns like Youghal have seen a resurgence over the past two years as Irish holidaymakers fall in love with their own country again.
The outbound tourism business also recovered strongly, helped in part by the lower VAT rate.
However, she said there were major concerns about the future due to rising energy prices, pressure on vacation rentals and accelerating inflation.
“Energy prices are a concern for everyone in the Irish economy,” she said. “I’m terminating a contract with my electric utility at the end of September and the lowest offer they’re offering me is a 65 percent increase.
“This increase in costs is very worrying. I can’t raise my prices, and that’s a huge increase in overhead to try to deal with.
“If I try to raise prices to accommodate these energy price increases, I’ll just end up losing customers.”
Ms Sharkey said what she wanted to see in the 2023 budget was some concerted action by the government to control rising energy costs.
“I really don’t know what they can do. I know this is a global problem and fuel prices are increasing around the world.
“But the government needs to do something to help and support Irish businesses.”
If I try to raise prices to accommodate energy price increases, I will end up losing customers
She warned that no company anywhere in the world could afford increases in energy prices of 50 to 100 percent and possibly more.
“Unless action is taken to help companies facing soaring oil, gas and electricity bills, many of them simply will not be able to absorb these massive increases in costs.
“It is therefore important that the government acts strongly in this regard.
“I don’t know what they can do, but they have to do something.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/keeping-the-vat-rate-down-is-a-no-brainer-budget-2023-could-decide-future-of-many-irish-businesses-bar-owner-believes-41999136.html “Keeping the VAT rate low is a no-brainer” – the 2023 budget could decide the future of many Irish businesses, the bar owner believes