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Most restaurants face ‘permanent closure’ without more State aid – industry chief


Wants clarity: Restaurant association chief Adrian Cummins

Wants clarity: Restaurant association chief Adrian Cummins

Wants clarity: Restaurant association chief Adrian Cummins

The vast majority of restaurants nationwide could face "permanent closure" with a loss of 120,000 jobs unless the Government cuts the sector's Vat rate to zero and subsidises rental costs.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) warned today that 90pc of its members - representing 2,700 restaurants, cafés and gastropubs – would not be able to reopen unless the Government adopts the group’s nine-point rescue plan.

“Our plan, the only viable solution for restaurants, is on the desks of ministers and departments,” said RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins. “We are seeking urgent action to save and recover our industry as nine out of 10 restaurants face permanent closure in the months ahead without urgent action.”

The RAI seeks:

- a zero percent Vat rate for 12 months, then a 9pc rate for the next five years

- legislation to protect commercial leaseholders with rent subsidies modelled on France’s emergency supports

- a moratorium on bank fees, loan repayments and commercial rates bills until a Covid-19 vaccine is confirmed

- insurance payouts for ‘business disruption’ cover and a moratorium on policy suspensions

- new State grants to cover restaurants’ first six months of operating costs once they reopen

- a ban on utility cut-offs and a review of current standing charges on closed firms

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- a one-year waiver on licence requirements for outdoor tables ‘to enable businesses to reopen and adapt to social distancing’.

Mr Cummins said Ireland could adopt the kind of rent relief scheme already launched in France, where taxpayers cover 60pc of bills and the tenant 20pc, while the landlord absorbs a 20pc income loss.

He said the at-risk 2,700 outlets directly employ 120,000 people.

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