RESTAURANT owner and chef Liam Moloughney believes the lower 9pc VAT rate will help the labour-intensive hospitality industry to protect jobs.
Liam co-owns the busy Woodstock Restaurant & Cafe in Phibsboro, Dublin, with his wife Michelle and her sister Angela Ruttledge. In addition, they operate Moloughney's Restaurant in Clontarf. Some 50 employees rely on both businesses continuing to thrive for their pay packets.
Liam Moloughney said he was "pleasantly surprised" the 9pc lower VAT rate would remain in place.
"It will help us protect jobs and cope with the other pressures on the business," he said. "There is upward pressure on wages in relation to more experienced chefs, rising food costs and water metering."
Yet, they believe the 50c excise duty on a bottle of wine will have a "knock-on effect on prices and dampen demand". Angela Ruttledge believes instead the low-cost selling of alcohol should be targeted.
They also face an additional burden as employers now have to cover the first six days of sick pay for a staff member – up from three.
"Overall, it does seem to be a pro-business Budget," she said. However, she stressed the level of credit on offer from suppliers has never been so tight. She also stressed it is difficult to get a loan from the banks.