The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has released a "Top 10 Asks" manifesto ahead of the 2020 general election.
The association's demands include a reduction of the food VAT rate to 9%, action to address the skills shortage in the food sector and immediate insurance reform.
"Crying Out For Help"
RAI CEO Adrian Cummins stated, "The time for action is now! Currently, there have been a large number of restaurant closures around the island of Ireland at a staggering rate of one per day. My members are crying out for help to save their businesses and livelihoods, and no one is listening.
"We are urging our members and the public to read our manifesto ahead of the general election and demand support for local Irish businesses. We call on all political parties and candidates to commit to supporting the Irish tourism and restaurant Industry over the next five years.
"The recent proposed legislation on the mandatory displaying of calories on menus is the latest in a long line of new measures that cost businesses money. The implementation of this new legislation is often done with no thought for small businesses that face closure due to spiralling costs.
"We must reduce the food VAT rate back to 9% to enable Ireland to become competitive on a European level and to ensure that tourism numbers do not continue to fall as they have done in 2019. The most recent tourism and travel data from the CSO (Q3 2019) show that the number of nights spent in Ireland by overseas travellers decreased by 4.5%. The average duration of overseas trips to Ireland decreased also. It is simply unacceptable to just state that the reduction in tourism and hospitality VAT was a temporary measure. What will be done to support declining tourism numbers now?
"Ireland is starting to become no country for small independent business."
The "Top 10 Asks"
The RAI's "Top 10 Asks" for the 2020 general election are:
- Reduce the food VAT rate to 9%;
- reform insurance immediately;
- reduce commercial rates for businesses and implement reform of local authorities;
- establish a national hospitality training agency;
- reduce the cost of doing business, and reform regulation and regulatory bodies;
- commit to making comprehensive food and nutritional education compulsory at primary and secondary school level;
- reduce excise duty over the life-time of the next government;
- commit to the non-introduction of calories on menus for independent restaurants;
- develop an action plan for rural tourism;
- address the skills shortage - provide employer supports for apprenticeships and overhaul work permits legislation.
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