Dundalk Chamber welcomes parts of the Stimulus package launched by the Government last week. We were pleased to see the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP and the wage subsidy scheme continue in somewhat of a different format , including the relaxation of some of the qualifying conditions.
We were also pleased to see the increase in the amount and the expansion of the restart grant.
Out own experience with training over the last 4 months through Skillnet has shown a huge demand both from employers and employees for upskilling and training. We therefore welcome the additional funding in this area.
We also welcome the funding for Brexit advisors. We have been reminding members that that issue has not gone away.
However there are a number of areas where we believe the Government did not go far enough.
The first is the failure to reduce the hospitality VAT rate down to match the UK rate of 5%. The hospitality and tourism industry in this area has always been neglected by Dublin but this highlights the problem.
The offer of a tax credit on staycation between October and April fails to recognise that “the grey euro” is not targeted by that. There are retired people on modest pensions, not paying tax and without mortgages who are in a position to take a mid-week break. The tax credit is of no interest to them, as they are not paying tax.
In the October budget we would hope to see a more targeted approach, giving priority to areas with high employment potential, particularly the young. We would like to see an overhaul of the rates burden on business and we would like to see a concerted effort on interest rate reduction to European mainland levels.
Finally we would appeal to all those in the region whose earnings were not significantly reduced in the last 4 months to go out and spend locally. Buy and use the Chamber’s shop local vouchers.