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VAT issue causing a headache for Irish restaurateur

03 | 12 | 12

The different levels of VAT being charged in Northern Ireland (NI) and Eire mean one restaurant is being forced to expand south of the border due to prohibitive costs in the north.

Bob McCoubrey of the Mourne Seafood Bar told the Belfast Telegraph he had hoped to invest in new kitchen equipment for the creation of a restaurant in Londonderry over the coming months, but due to tax issues he is being forced to look elsewhere.

He said: "I'd love to expand in Northern Ireland. I have seen some fabulous sites, which are real bargains and with my dreamer's head on, they would be fantastic locations for a new place - we'd love to go to the north coast or to Derry for the City of Culture year.

"But when you sit down and look at the figures, it just doesn't make sense."

The present level of VAT on food in the Republic of Ireland stands at just nine per cent. This is in comparison to 20 per cent in NI. Furthermore, corporation tax is also considerably higher north of the border at 24 per cent, compared to Eire's 12.5 per cent.

As a result, Mr McCoubrey stated it is simpler easier to make money in the Republic, despite the fact there is demand for his services north of the border.

He added that the present system of tax in NI is derived to suit companies operating in London and the south-east of England and it is therefore high time there was devolution of these powers to the Northern Irish legislature.

Meanwhile, the Jacques Borel VAT Club is campaigning for a reduced VAT rate of five per cent for the tourism and hospitality sectors across the UK, claiming that a reduction in taxation would stimulate the creation of new jobs.

Providing a vital "first rung" on the employment ladder, the hospitality sector and the country as a whole would benefit from these changes, the organisation states.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801499444-ADNFCR

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