Myles O’Brien, owner of The Tavern in Murrisk, Co. Mayo, has issued a warning for the hospitality sector – which he believes has suffered ‘three successive blows’.
“The outlook is grim for less established businesses,” said Myles in a statement. “Firstly the VAT increase in the budget, secondly the increase in minimum wage beginning in January, and now a 2% rates increase. It’s a huge burden for everyone in the hospitality sector.”
Myles is the Tourism Officer with Mayo Vintners and has recently celebrated 18 years of continuous operation with The Tavern, which is located close to the tourism hub of Westport.
In the recent budget the VAT rate went up by 4.5%, reverting to the full 13.5% levy. According to Myles O’Brien – “This might be sustainable for hotels, pubs and restaurants in the major urban centres with high footfall and year round business. It’s a different case for smaller, independent businesses in more rural areas, especially when there is a seasonal nature to their business.”
As well, minimum wage is set to increase from €9.55 an hour to €9.80 an hour, while at the recent Mayo County Council Annual Budget Meeting a 2% hike in rates was approved.
Myles also cited concerns over a drop in UK tourism as a result of Brexit uncertainties. “It’s not going too far to say job losses are likely. Indeed this could be the death knell for some small hospitality businesses,” he warned.