Last week, Retail Excellence Ireland tweeted its disappointment that the 32nd Dáil’s draft Programme for Government doesn’t directly reference the retail industry, noting, “All other industries get a nod”.
Checkout reached out to the group’s CEO, David Fitzsimons to find out more about its position on the new Government’s plans.
He described the €30 million town and village renewal scheme outlined in the document, and the appointment of a new Cabinet Minister for Rural Development, as welcome developments that would have “a positive impact on town revival”.
Fitzsimons also praised the Government's intentions to keep the 9% VAT rate, and its plans to refocus the Small Business Advisory Group (on which REI sits) to make sure Government tendering can be accessed by small Irish businesses.
However, on the proposed increase in National Minimum Wage to €10.50 over the next five years, REI expressed some concern, even though there have been promises made to match any increase from the €9.15 rate with a proportionate decrease in employers PRSI.
"Our concern here is that we were promised a PRSI reduction before and it was not delivered on," explained Fitzsimons.
He also criticized plans to increase excise duty on tobacco products, saying that it would lead to an increase in illicit trading. However, he noted that stronger enforcement and sanctions have also been promised.
"We will revert to Minister Francis Fitzgerald to determine what extra resource is being invested to stamp out illegal importation," he said.
He added that the group was pleased to see the plans to increase the Small Benefits Exemption from €500 to €650, because it "will grow the gift card market for our open-loop FroMe2You Gift Card, and all members private gift card programmes."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.