My Budget: Business owner disappointed hospitality VAT not reduced

Funds for tourism sector ‘will mean a load of hoops to jump through to get it’

Paul Lynam, Proprietor The King Oak, Tullamore. Photograph: Tom O’Hanlon.

Tullamore businessman Paul Lynam is very disappointed with Budget 2020.

Three of the key issues in which he had expressed concern - VAT for the hospitality sector; a tax on online purchases and schemes to encourage regeneration - were not addressed.“It’s quite a flat Budget - there must be an election coming,” he joked.

“It’s disappointing the VAT for the hospitality sector won’t be reduced, but I didn’t really expect them to roll it back.

“But there should be more incentives and supports for small businesses. They are taking the hit all the time.”


Paul and his wife Eimear expanded their business this year to include three separate strands - garden furniture manufacturing, a retail premises and a coffee shop. They have a staff of 19.

The Lynams’ newest venture, which opened earlier this year, is a coffee shop and retail premises, the King Oak, on the outskirts of Tullamore. Shortly he will move the garden furniture business to the same location as they cannot keep both premises open.

“I don’t think it’s fair that big operations get the same VAT rate as small concerns like ours. This is a small business, the margins are very tight in a small coffee shop."

In relation to the targeted funds announced for the tourism sector and to the Department of Business, Paul said: “that will probably be on the basis of small loans and that will mean a load of hoops to jump through to get it.

“I wasn’t too hopeful about the Budget, with Brexit I knew it was going to be tough for small businesses. The scary thing is that no one knows what is going to happen.”