The largest independent body of convenience store retailers and newsagents in Ireland (the CSNA) has expressed its disappointment to both the Department of Finance and the Department of Enterprise that assurances given by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other government ministers – that small and medium-sized businesses would receive meaningful assistance – have not been delivered.
‘Assistances that were supposed to cushion the increased costs we will encounter from the enormous and unprecedented hike to the minimum wage, ongoing additional labour costs (public holiday, extra sick leave etc) and other government-induced costs such as the deposit return scheme, proposed latte levy are contained in a €250 million rates relief package to be divided amongst 130,000 ratepayers averaging €1,900 each,’ the group noted.
‘This is a tiny fraction of our projected cost increases and is clearly not sufficient,’ the CSNA noted.
‘Make no mistake, these cost increases are 100% due to Government decisions, it is very difficult for us to believe that no one in any of the relevant Departments is unaware of the real additional costs that these decisions will incur,’ it added.
‘The praises heaped upon our sector during the Pandemic emergency sound very empty and hollow now.’
Speaking with Checkout, Vincent Jennings of the CSNA said, “The extraordinary rise in labour costs – following the decision of this government to accept the recommendation of the LPC [Low-Pay Commission] to apply a 12.4% increase in the national minimum wage [NMW] – is a huge concern to all our members.
“We are very aware that most of our members do not pay NMW rates, but are very conscious of the effect that such a large – €1.40 per hour – award will have on the wage expectations of most of our staff, who will feel justified to seek a maintaining of the current differential.
“The state are 100% responsible for these increases, yet their ‘response’ is nothing short of pathetic. Using rates bills as a measuring device of businesses’ cost-of-business ‘pain’ is unacceptable. If real reliefs are to be offered, they need to reduce the effect of government decisions, such as increased sick leave, extra public holidays, auto-enrolment, and, of course, the incessant ‘drive’ towards a living wage in 2026.
“CSNA is most disappointed that this ‘response’ from the state is misdirected and, worryingly, appears to have no knowledge of the very real consequences that these decisions are having on thousands of small family businesses throughout Ireland.”