Restaurants and hair salons team up to campaign for 9% VAT rate to be retained in budget

Both industries expect the rate to increase to 13.5% in September but want the hike to be reversed in October’s budget

Restaurants and hair salons have called on the Government to maintain the 9 per cent VAT rate on their businesses, which is expected to be increased to 13.5 per cent in September.

By launching a joint campaign, Irish Hairdressers Federation president Lisa Eccles and Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins hope to have their request heeded by Minister for Finance Michael McGrath and to “have a meeting with him soon”.

Mr Cummins explained that although the rate will likely go up on September 1st, it is going to be a big issue for this year’s budget and the campaign’s goal is to have the increase reversed on budget day.

“We have six weeks to achieve it, and we want it to be kept at 9 per cent for at least the whole duration of this Government,” he said.


“When the prices will have to go up for my clients, I will make it clear to them it wasn’t my choice and that I’m fighting against it,” added Ms Eccles.

Ms Eccles explained that she will also encourage members of the Hairdressers Federation to raise the issue with local TDs, and to explain to them what the day-to-day problems are for their businesses. “They seem to understand and to agree with us,” she said.

Having already met Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil backbenchers, Mr Cummins said their response was also “positive” and “in support” of the industry’s views.

According to Rossa Danagher, owner of Rossanos hair salons in Sligo and Donegal, a 9 per cent VAT rate is “just about sustainable”. “If it rises, we can be sure that there are going to be closures,” he said.

“9 per cent has always been the fair rate,” added Mr Cummins. “Increasing it would mean asking consumers to pay more for our services and we know their incomes have already been under pressure lately.”

Hair salon representatives said increased costs for their businesses would affect their capacity to train new staff, “which we’ve always done on our own, without asking anything of the Government”, said Mr Danagher.

“Staff shortage is among the key issues at the moment,” added Ms Eccles.