Ennis Chamber welcomes the announcement in Budget 2016 of an increase in the value of the Small Benefit Exemption Scheme yearly limit from €250 to €500 per employee. We are lobbying Oireachtas members in Clare on behalf of businesses in Ennis to support the fast-tracking by Minister Michael Noonan of this change to ensure it is implemented before Christmas rather than the proposed start date of January 1st.
Ennis Chamber operates the Ennis Gold Gift Voucher Scheme which ensures that money stays in the town thus benefiting small to medium, often family owned, businesses and sustaining local jobs. Since its inception in November 2009, Ennis Gold has sold €500,000 worth of vouchers which is re-spent in over 80 businesses in the town. The customers of Ennis Gold are local individuals as well a large proportion of businesses and corporate multi-nationals who currently purchase the vouchers at the maximum limit of €250 as bonuses for their staff for Christmas. As Ennis Gold has gathered momentum in recent years, it is estimated that €80,000 will be sold in 2015 alone.
It was reported that the Department of Finance says the changes will be implemented in time for Christmas, an earlier time frame that had first been envisaged. Therefore Ennis Chamber is urging the Clare TD’s and Senators to ensure this takes effect soon as many businesses make their decisions on bonuses in November. This decision would have a really positive impact on businesses as it is proven that there is an up-spend of up to 30% in addition to the voucher by customers. Employees would benefit hugely from a prospective increase giving their employer greater leeway and flexibility with the amount of the bonus and giving employees more to spend during the Christmas shopping period.
With legislation relating to the Finance Act due to go through the Dail this week, Ennis Chamber is hoping that the increase in the Small Benefit Scheme will form part of the measure brought into force prior to Christmas.