Rural Publicans call for measures in budget 2014 to protect thousands of pub jobs

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), which represents 4,200 publicans outside Dublin and the interests of approximately 40,000 jobs, has today issued their pre-budget demands.


The VFI has called on the Government to protect the jobs associated with the labour intensive on trade.


The Vintners’ Federation is specifically calling for two basic measures:


·         Reduce excise on alcohol

·         Maintain the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector


Gerry Rafter, President of the VFI called on the Minister NOT to increase excise and to consider lowering excise. Ireland already has one of the highest levels of excise in the EU with current government take on excise and VAT on alcohol at €2bn.


Mr Rafter said; “Since 2009 over 6,000 jobs have been lost in the industry. We estimate that 2,000 jobs are in jeopardy in the next 12 months. Most of our members are family run business in towns and rural parts of Ireland, often where there is little other employment. These jobs need protecting. There is an obvious two speed economy in this country and consumer confidence in many places is on the floor.”


“A further increase in excise will only serve to widen the gap between the on trade and off trade, encouraging the abuse and misuse of cheap alcohol being sold by supermarkets that sell alcohol as a loss leader. It will also make Ireland more expensive for tourists, at a time when we are supposed to be trying to attract greater numbers.


Mr Rafter continued; “Minister Noonan’s crude and blunt excise hike last year was a surprise in terms of the size of the increase and was a massive disappointment and proved catastrophic for many pubs. This government regularly claims that job creation is the number one goal. Budget 2014 is a great opportunity to practice what they preach. It is clear that a lower excise rate will give publicans some relief and breathing space.”


The Vintners’ Federation is also strongly in favour of retaining the 9% VAT which exists for a range of services connected to the hospitality and tourism sectors.  Food has become increasingly important to the pub trade and the 9% VAT rate has helped ensure competitiveness in this area.


A return to the previous 13.5% rate would make it extremely difficult for VFI members to continue offering food at the current prices. The pub is a major tourist attraction and it will be extremely difficult to provide value if prices keep increasing.


Mr Rafter concluded; “Increasing the VAT rate for the hospitality sector and increasing excise will only serve to do two things. These measures will put pubs out of business, causing more job losses and make Ireland less attractive to tourists.

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