One restaurant closing every week since VAT hike, lobby group claims

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association at the Irish Restaurant Awards 2019 in January. Picture: Peter Houlihan

Restaurants in rural Ireland are finding it hardest to cope with the recent VAT hike on the industry, according to the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

The RAI says the increase from 9%t o 13.5% has led to an average of one restaurant closing down every week.

The association is calling on the government to reduce the rate down to 11% to show it values the tourism industry.

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the RAI, says as things stand, restaurants are struggling to cope.

“With the increase in VAT, the shortage of skilled chefs and rising costs of doing business, many restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open," he told the association's annual conference in Killarney.

"The government needs to show it values the tourism industry by reducing the VAT rate to 11%, put more resources towards processing chef permits and bring in tax incentives for employee accommodation.”

The RAI is also calling for the introduction of tax incentives to allow restaurant owners to provide short-term accommodation for staff.

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