The Stay and Spend Scheme should be extended beyond April this year so that consumers and businesses can avail of it later in the year with any easing of restrictions, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Garret Ahearn, Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on Enterprise and Trade, has called for the Stay and Spend Scheme to be extended to the off-season later this year in order to support the hospitality sector when trading can hopefully resume.
Senator Ahearn said, “Stay and Spend is a tax scheme aimed at consumers to help drive sales in the hospitality sector during the off-season.
“The scheme, which came into effect on October 1st, provides a maximum of €125 in income tax credits to tax-payers who spend up to €625 in restaurants, pubs, hotels, B&Bs and other qualifying businesses.
“Figures from Revenue show that just €6.8 million has been spent up until the middle of January as many restaurants, pubs and other businesses have remained closed under Level 5 restrictions, with the exception of a couple of weeks in December.
“The scheme is due to run until 31st April. However, I believe it should be extended beyond April and into the shoulder or off-season so that consumers can support businesses, if and when restrictions are eased and people can staycation and eat out once again.
“I raised this matter in the Seanad today and I want to remind people that this scheme can be used locally and not just while on vacation, because if you spend over €25 in a local bar or restaurant it means we are supporting our local businesses when they do reopen.
“My colleague, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, indicated recently that while it was too early to make decisions given the deteriorating situation with Covid, flexibility could be shown in an extension to the scheme.
“This is something that I would welcome, and I know the Government remains committed to supporting businesses impacted by Covid-19.
“The hospitality industry has been one of the sectors worst affected by public health measures imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19, and I believe we should all play our part in supporting jobs and business in whatever we can.”