Retail Excellence Ireland call for Government to introduce policies to protect retailers from Brexit, including 3% cut in VAT

Retail Excellence Ireland has called on the Government to cut VAT by 3% in the next Budget. The retail lobby group, has said Ireland’s ‘regressive’ VAT rate of 23% should be reduced to safeguard Irish retailers from the effects of Brexit. The lobby group said the 23% rate should be cut in “in one fell swoop”. Retail Excellence have previously called for a reduction in the charge but in their latest submission say any incremental reduction would have minimal effect on consumer spending.

The submission from the group including a number of measures the group feel are necessary for the government to introducing in an effort to help retailers including-

  • Immediate and emergency legislation to immediately tackle rising insurance costs
  • The introduction of a business focused bank, similar to the UK’s Metro Bank. Half of Metro Bank’s balance sheet lending is targeted at SMEs.
  • Training and financial support for businesses to set up and grow their online presence and eCommerce capabilities
  • Increased Garda presence and resources to tackle retail crime
  • A renewed focus and energy on regional town and village renewal schemes
  • Prioritise infrastructural development to encourage more FDI

The group also call on the Government to intervene on the issue of spiralling rents faced by retailers with the abolition of all upward only rent review clauses to allow all commercial tenants to pay market rents. The group say this would support many retailers who are suffering penal and unsustainable rents due to upward only leases.

In their submission, Retail Ireland Excellence pointed to the importance of retail to the Irish economy. Irish retailers operate some 45,000 businesses and directly employ some 282,000 employees.

“As a direct consequence of retail activity, €5.7 billion is contributed to the exchequer on an annual basis. Therefore, the significant of retail must not be underestimated,” said Lorraine Higgins, a spokeswoman for the organisation.