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Order of Business

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Senator Catherine Noone

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

With minds starting to focus on the budget, I join Senator Lorraine Higgins in referring to the 9% VAT rate on tourism products. I welcomed this initiative when it was first introduced shortly after my election to the House. A number of businesses were not embracing the initiative by giving the money back to the consumer. The purpose of the reduction was to stimulate the industry and give value to consumers, including tourists in particular. The initiative has proved highly successful in stimulating business and employment in the tourism sector. Senator Lorraine Higgins referred to the estimate of 9,000 jobs. It is estimated in certain reports that 25,000 jobs have been created through this initiative. There has been extensive discussion on the 9% VAT rate which may be restored to 13.5% in the budget. The urge to increase it is understandable, given that it has cost the Exchequer €350 million per annum. However, the cost to the social welfare budget would be much higher. Other Senators have called for a general debate on the budget, but given the amount of lobbying done on this issue and the effect it will have on the industry, I suggest we hold a debate on this issue with the Minister for Finance if he has time in his diary in advance of the budget.