Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Rita McInerney has welcomed a decision by Revenue to defer a 23% VAT hike on health supplements.

Revenue has postponed any increase until November, after a review from the Tax Strategy Group is published.

“The vast majority of people taking health supplements are doing so either on the advice of their doctor or in a bid to live a healthier life.  At a time when we should be encouraging people to embrace healthier living, a VAT hike sends out a very mixed message.  It makes sense for the Revenue to defer any such decision until after the Tax Strategy Group has published its review”, said McInerney.

“Some supplements are already quite expensive.  Add another 23% to the price and it may well put it out of reach for individuals and families.  Not only will this have an impact on weekly budgets, it could have dire consequences for health stores across Co. Clare.

“There are seven health food stores in Ennis alone, as well as a number of other shops in Ennistimon, Tulla and Kilrush.   These businesses are already dealing with high rates and insurance costs, and many family run outfits would struggle to remain viable if shoppers are forced online to get their supplements at a cheaper price.

“There are also questions to be answered about the quality of the products and consumers will miss out on the personal touch and expertise that is available in store.

“The decision by the Revenue offers a temporary reprieve.  We must wait and see what recommendations the Tax Strategy Group makes in its review in the summertime.  However, a 23% VAT hike will be unacceptable to most people and would have a major impact on individuals, families and businesses”, concluded McInerney.