Independent TD Denis Naughten has said that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe ‘admitted’ that the Government’s Stay and Spend scheme will see just over €400,000 being refunded to hospitality sector customers, well short of the projected uptake of €100 million.
Speaking in the Dáil last week, Deputy Naughten called for the underspend to be ringfenced in order to be used to ensure gift vouchers purchased by tourism and hospitality customers can be redeemed or refunded in 2021.
Replying to Minister Donohoe’s assertion that the lack of uptake means less money would need to be borrowed, the Roscommon TD said: “It is much better to borrow money to support the viability of the sector than borrow money to pay the social welfare of employees across the hospitality sector.
“Rather than the tourism and hospitality sector losing out on this money, it must be ringfenced to provide a guarantee for those who purchase gift vouchers across the hospitality sector between now and Christmas.
“The purchase of gift vouchers will not only provide vital cashflow to these businesses to ensure they remain open into next year – a key objective of the Stay and Spend Scheme – but will also encourage people to holiday at home in 2021”.