Labour's 2pc bedroom tax plan would 'damage jobs', say hoteliers
Dublin hoteliers have hit out at proposals from Labour councillors to introduce a 2pc "bedroom tax" on accommodation in the city.
The suggested tax "would cause significant damage to jobs, investment and the tourism sector in Dublin" the Irish Hoteliers Federation (IHF) and the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) have claimed.
In a joint submission to the Finance Strategic Policy Committee of Dublin City Council, who are due to vote on the measure tomorrow, the IHF and the ITIC criticised the idea of a new tax.
The body estimates that between 3,000 and 5,000 beds are needed in Dublin to make up the shortage of hotel rooms.
They said that new hotels are "urgently required" and expressed concern that a bedroom tax may deter people from investing in the industry.
"A new bed cost would add to the cost of doing business in Dublin and divert much-needed funds away from marketing, payroll and renewals," their submission reads.
"Introducing a bedroom tax would add cost to Dublin's tourism offering at a time when it is vital to maintain competitiveness and offer value for money."
It also argues that the hotel sector shouldn't be the only one in the tourism industry to be singled out.
The IHF argues that Dublin's 105 hotels pay significant rates to the council and also pay the 4pc levy to the city's Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).
It also contributes significantly to the marketing of the city, the representative group said. It estimates that hotels shell out some €25m annually to market their properties. Further, the Dublin branch of the IHF are contributing €300,000 per annum to the new tourism brand 'Dublin, a breath of fresh air' they added.
Labour councillor Dermot Lacey defended the idea as a "perfectly reasonable" proposal. "It's a fairly standard procedure all across the world," he said.
Mr Lacey pointed out that the VAT tax in Ireland was lower than in other European cities.
"This notion that the tourist industry would be devastated, I mean, come off it. This is the same hotel industry that approves hotel rates going up enormously on the weekends of concerts or All-Irelands."