The Dublin-based Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has called on the Irish government to cut VAT rates and encourage employment in order to save the troubled pub industry.

An independent study commissioned by the VFI showed that 4,800 pub industry jobs have been lost in the past year, 43% of pubs have reduced their opening hours and 88% have reduced their energy use to lower overheads.

VFI’s research, which represents 5,000 rural licensees, also revealed that 81% of pubs had reported a downturn in revenue for the summer period from May to July 2009, with 79% reporting a 10% drop and 40% a 20% decline in takings.

Val Hanley, president of the VFI, said that the research revealed that the industry is in a worse state than the federation had anticipated.

“Our members have taken serious measures to make the necessary cutbacks by reducing opening hours, reducing energy output and water usage but this still has not prevented job losses,” he said.

Padraig Cribben, chief executive of VFI, added: “Water and commercial rates are way too high in this country and they are crippling publicans. We would strongly urge the Minister for Transport not to reduce the blood alcohol levels for drivers as this will have no impact on road fatalities and will directly lead to pub closures.”

Other recommendations included incentivising those in the hospitality industry to encourage employment; reduce VAT rates from 21.5% to 15% and from 13.5% to 10%; appoint an ombudsman to ensure financial institutions are operating fairly when offering credit facilities to small and medium businesses.


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By Emma White


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