DublinTown, the collective voice of businesses in Dublin city centre, has today criticised the government’s July Stimulus package. The group says that while the €5bn package announced today is welcome, more needs to be done to address non-financial supports.
DublinTown is calling for the Government to address solutions for non-financial support such as allowing office workers back to work, increases in public transport capacity and targeted sales support to allow increased engagement with the city.
According to the representative group, Dublin city centre’s financial sustainability is uncertain. DublinTown believes many city centre businesses will close in September if current circumstances prevail, and others will fail to re-open in January 2021.
Surveys undertaken by DublinTown show that between 70-80% of Dubliners would be willing to revisit the city. To achieve this, DublinTown says the Government needs to instil public confidence. They have also called for current pedestrian trials to be extended later into the evening seven days a week basis.
DublinTown has also called for the need to stimulate trade Monday to Thursday to maximise sales at a time when instore capacity is limited by social distancing.
Eighty five percent of DublinTown’s 2,500 membership are engaged in retail or hospitality, which collectively employed 30,000 people in January 2020. In common with many larger cities around the world, Dublin city has felt the brunt of the economic impact arising from COVID-19. In the week ending 19th July, city footfall was 53% of the same week in 2019, with average sales in the city centre at 40-45% of 2019 levels.
DublinTown’s members welcome the Staycation Subsidy but fear too many businesses will close in the city before the benefits can be appreciated. Members have also welcomed the cut in the main rate of tax from 21% to 23%, but have called on the government to reduce this by a further one percent to 20% with a 10% VAT rate for hotels, restaurants, and hairdressers.
Speaking this week, CEO of DublinTown, Richard Guiney said, "The extension of the Restart Grant to larger businesses and the self-employed is welcome and the extension of the wage subsidy scheme is necessary, but our members also believe that issues such as the meeting of overhead costs such as rent must also be addressed. The rates rebate must be extended for consumer facing businesses for the remainder of 2020."