Sunday 20 October 2019

'It keeps all the plates spinning but there's no leadership' - shopkeeper on 'disappointing' Budget 2020

Kevin Jephson, owner of Ardkeen Quality Foodstore
Photo: Mary Browne
Kevin Jephson, owner of Ardkeen Quality Foodstore Photo: Mary Browne

Aoife Walsh

THE Budget has done nothing to address the threats facing retailers as Brexit looms, a shopkeeper has said.

Kevin Jephson, who owns Ardkeen Food Stores, Co Waterford with his two brothers, Gerald and Colin, said this years Budget failed to provide a long-term plan for how retailers will manage after Brexit.

“It’s a conservative Budget. There’s nothing in it that’s well flagged. It’s probably for the best that these things aren’t a big surprise on Budget day,” he told Independent.ie.

“It’s a bit of a concern that he’s not addressing the underlining strategic threats. Brexit is there, and the answer is a couple of million quid for this, a couple of million quid for that, and that will fix it all up. I don’t think it will. It needs a bit more of a strategic vision than what we’re getting.

“How are we going to address our dependence on the UK? Transport links to Europe and stuff like that, we’re not really doing anything to develop a long-term solution,” he said.

He continued: “The other big thing then is that we have windfall taxes at the moment with the corporation tax that we’re getting from these multi-nationals. Yet, we’re not using that to pin on the debt. The debt is still massive. If we are to face any shocks, we’re in bad nick to do that. It keeps all the plates spinning in the air and it keeps everything ticking along but it’s just a little bit disappointing in that there’s no big idea or vision. There’s no leadership,” he said.

 As for the 50c hike on cigarettes, Mr Jephson said he doesn’t think it will deter his customers.

“If they really wanted to slow up cigarettes they could put maybe three quid on it. Maybe that would kill off the revenue. It’s hard to know, but it’s hard to argue with the 50c.”

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