News & Media

Share

Fall in Sterling needs robust response before Christmas Shopping Season begins in earnest

6 September 2017

Statement by Joan Burton TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Arts

On foot of the continuing fall in the value of Sterling, Labour Party spokesperson Finance Joan Burton TD has requested the Oireachtas Select Committee on Enterprise to examine what steps can be taken to avoid unnecessary loss of trade for Irish retailers and VAT income for the Exchequer.

In a letter to the Chair of the Oireachtas Enterprise Committee Mary Butler TD, Deputy Burton wrote:

"It seems to me that retailers are failing so far to give consumers the full advantage of the new exchange rates. This is a cause for concern.

"Should this situation continue I fear consumers will choose to travel North or even to places like Manchester or London to take full advantage of the favourable exchange rate to purchase items such as clothing which will be available at cheaper prices than in Irish shops, indeed even in the Irish branches of leading UK stores.

"This will lead to an avoidable loss of business in our country with potential loss of VAT income for the exchequer and of course the loss of employment mainly in border counties. I would like to suggest that your committee might consider taking up this matter and invite representatives of the retail trade and the representative of the Consumer Protection agency to attend a meeting and discuss what measures can be put in place to rectify this situation.

"One specific example mentioned in a recent newspaper article refers to a fashion item in one store that costs £169 in Britain, equivalent currently to about €184 . Yet in Ireland this same item cost €229. There are many similar examples across a range of sectors.

"Consumer interest in prices is always significant in the run up to the Christmas shopping season and I do think the matter should be examined before that time."