9% VAT rate must be maintained to protect jobs and create further employment – Byrne

-   Senator Maria Byrne

Fine Gael Limerick Senator, Maria Byrne, has called for the retention of the 9% VAT rate in the hospitality sector, saying it must be maintained in order to protect jobs and create further employment. Senator Byrne was speaking on the matter this week in the Seanad.

“The 9% VAT rate, which was introduced by the Fine Gael led Government in 2011, was instrumental in the kick-starting of our economic recovery and the beginnings of job creation after a long period of lengthening dole queues during the recession.

“The special VAT rate has been responsible for the creation of many jobs right across the hospitality and tourism sectors. The 9% rate gave great confidence in respect of job creation to businesses in the tourism industry during the downturn for a while, as the economy began to turn around, these were the only sectors creating jobs.

“These sectors are now thriving. Only today we see new official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 12.3% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first eight months of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015. Government policies in relation to tourism are working; including the 9% VAT rate and the abolition of the air travel tax.

“In the uncertain political and economic climate post-Brexit, I feel it would be very dangerous to change the 9% VAT rate in the forthcoming budget. It would have a detrimental effect on many jobs and businesses across the tourism sector, and I am calling for it to be maintained.”

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