Buy now to avoid VAT hikes, minister advises shoppers
A Government minister urged people yesterday to buy now to beat the Budget VAT increases.
That was the message from Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, who said yesterday that people should spend now so as to avoid the 2pc VAT increase in the new year.
Minister Varadkar said the VAT hike "will be a major feature" of the Budget along with changes in motor tax.
However, his cabinet colleague Phil Hogan flatly rejected reports yesterday that motor tax would rise by as much as 63pc.
Speaking at the annual Clare Tourism conference in Ennistymon, Mr Varadkar also confirmed that education, health, social welfare, public transport, tourism and sport, were all in line for cuts.
"One thing I am saying to people is that they should bring forward their purchases. I have a few suits that are falling apart and a computer that is seven or eight years old and one thing I will do before the VAT increase is to replace those suits and replace that computer before the New Year."
He also ruled out increases to income tax, saying "there will be no cuts to core pay, so for the first time when people get their pay slips in January and February, they will be the same as they were in November and December."
Meanwhile, a poll carried out by AA Travel Insurance shows almost one in five shoppers plan to do their Christmas shopping across the Border. Out of 11,500 people surveyed, 18pc said they were planning to travel up North in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This figure is up 2pc from last year, while the staple purchases are alcohol, groceries and gifts.
"It's important to remember that if introduced, the higher rate of VAT will also apply to our fuel which is already hovering in and around the €1.50 mark per litre of petrol," Mr Varadkar warned.
Elsewhere, new research shows Irish consumers will spend a total of €257m online in the run-up to Christmas -- with an average spend of €155 per shopper.