Minister for Small Business John Perry said at the recent NFRN AGM, that the huge regulatory burden and hidden costs facing retailers need to be reduced
Mar 12 2012
NFRN Ireland president Joe Sweeney with Minister for Small Business John Perry at the group’s AGM
The Minister for Small Business John Perry said that the government understands that access to credit is a major issue for small businesses in Ireland today.
He was speaking at the NFRN AGM on 5 March in the Crown Plaza Hotel in Santry, Dublin.
The Minister said that the government’s aim is to put “confidence and credit” back in the economy and spend back in local economies.
He also spoke of the need to cut down on the huge regulatory burden and hidden costs facing retailers.
Members of the NFRN executive committee took the opportunity to raise their own issues with the Minister.
These included the need for more scanners at Irish ports due to the rise in cigarette smuggling, the need for an ombudsman for the sector, the possibility of adopting the rates levy that has been put in place in Northern Ireland and the removal of VAT on newspapers and magazines.
The retailers asked the Minister to put it to government not to increase tax on tobacco in the next budget because they fear the more this increases, the worse the counterfeit trade will become.
The most pressing issue discussed on the day was the recommendations from a report published by the Joint Committee on Health and Children called 'The Misuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs'.
Out of the 13 recommendations to government within the report, minimum pricing and a ban on alcohol advertising, are supported by the NFRN.
Commenting on the matter NFRN CEO Paul Baxter said: “We support all sensible initiatives to curb the binge culture and in particular issues with underage drinking but there is no evidence to suggest that small shops and convenience stores are the cause of this problem. In fact community stores are the best places to sell alcohol as they know their customers and they live and work in the community.”
He also said that it was large multiple retailers who were most guilty of selling below cost and have caused the biggest issues and he believes minimum pricing would help control this.
NFRN Ireland president Joe Sweeney said many of its members have invested heavily in their off-licences and the vast majority of their customers drink sensibly and legally. He said: “This ill-conceived measure would signal the closure of businesses and further erosion of local communities. Governments are supposed to support enterprise and innovation and mustn’t forget the number of people employed through small shops”.