Tuesday, October 01 10:37:54
Dublin publicans have warned that, unless the Government reverses the increase in excise rates introduced in last year's Budget, up to 2,000 jobs will be lost in the sector next year.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) says that while retail sales have dropped by 12.5pc over the last six years the pub trade has seen a fall of 33pc. The Association believes this is why 923 pubs - 11pc of the total in the country - have closed their doors over the same period.
The publicans are also calling on the Minister for Finance to maintain the special 9pc rate of VAT for the hospitality sector.
The LVA represents over 600 pubs in Dublin which employ over 10,000 people. The Chief Executive of the LVA, Donall O'Keeffe, said the pub industry was continuing to contract and that any further shocks in the forthcoming budget could lead to further closures and inevitable job losses.
"The Government talks a lot about reducing unemployment but the fact of the matter is that between 2008 and 2011 there has been a 25pc decrease in the number of full time employees working in this sector - a loss of 4,500 jobs. If this trend persists, a further 2,000 jobs will go in the coming year. If these job losses were in the technology or pharma sector the red lights would be flashing and the Government would be rushing to their assistance. If you want to create employment in this industry you cannot increase the excise rate on wine by 41pc and the rate on beer by 22pc which the Government did in the last Budget. If the Government does not reverse last year's increases, it absolutely cannot contemplate a further increase," Mr O'Keefe said.
The LVA points out that 30pc of the retail price of every pint of beer goes to the Government and that Ireland already has one of the highest excise levels in Europe. In addition to reversing the increase in excise rates and maintaining the 9pc VAT rate, the LVA wants the Government to set up a task force to reverse the decline of the pub trade.
Mr. O'Keeffe said we needed to move away from the current histrionic debate about alcohol and acknowledge the critical economic role played by the pub industry.