Longford businesswoman slams VAT hike, saying: 'Very few businesses will be able to absorb this'

Aisling Kiernan


Aisling Kiernan



Colette Reynolds

Colette Reynolds of Hair Square believes legislators "don't care" about small businesses in the wake of Budget 2019's 13.5 per cent VAT hike.

The VAT increase of 13.5% in the budget has raised fears that restaurants will close and businesses including hairdressing salons will suffer adversely.

Colette Reynolds of Hair Square in Longford town says many small business owners like herself feel government ministers, local authorities and business leaders “just don't care”.

“They will try to convince us that they care by creating the illusion of better times ahead but as it stands after the budget there are not definitely better times ahead for those of us in the hairdressing business and those at the top just don't care,” she added.

“I know that many of the ordinary decent women and men who support me in my business just do not have the spending cash to pay for price rises, so in fairness to my customers I will be the one absorbing the VAT budget increase and I know that our political leaders really don't care about me.”

Meanwhile, Industry groups have spoken of their fears about the VAT hike.

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), said there was huge outrage and worry among its members.

He also raised concern about the VAT hike on top of the potential impact of Brexit.

“Small businesses in rural and Border counties will go to the wall due to the hike,” he added.
Ruth McGarry Quinn of Torc Cafe in Longford town said the Government based this latest VAT hike on the Dublin economy.

“Dublin is like a different country when you compare its economy to rural Ireland,” she said, before pointing out that struggling small businesses would simply not be able to absorb it.

“Very few businesses will be able to absorb this and many will have to pass it on to the customer; in the last few years we have increases on all our ingredients and produce and we have absorbed those costs and not handed them onto the customer.

“The average coffee shop and small restaurant will struggle with this VAT hike.”