Sinn Féin spokesperson for Tourism, Imelda Munster TD, has criticised the Government ‘Stay and Spend’ scheme which starts today.
Deputy Munster commented that the scheme is coming too late, offers too little, and excludes huge swathes of the population.
The Louth TD raised the plight of the tourism sector today with Minister Catherine Martin, asking her to take on board some of the Sinn Féin proposals to support business as we face into a long hard winter.
Deputy Munster said:
“The tourism sector has estimated that 100,000 jobs have already been lost, and that another 100,000 are at risk due to the Covid19 pandemic.
“They are asking for increases to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, a cut to VAT for the sector, increased grant aid and an extension of the rates break. These are the practical steps we need to see from government.
“The government’s decision to open this scheme from October is baffling. Children are back in school, the weather is worsening and people are being advised to reduce their contacts. We also have one and a half million people in Dublin and Donegal can’t leave their own county.
“Further to that, the scheme excludes people who don’t pay tax, including carers, the majority of pensioners and those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
“Having to spend money and claim it back next year also means that only people who can already afford a holiday can take one under this scheme.
“It’s a real shame that the Government chose not to take Sinn Féin’s ‘Staycation Voucher’ scheme on board.
“Our proposal would have helped people get back to work, would have run through the Summer months when families were in a position to take a holiday, and it would have put money directly into people’s pockets. Our scheme offered €200 to each adult and €100 to each child in the state.
“Our scheme would have put money directly into the tills of businesses across the state by putting extra money straight into the hands of everyone in the state.”