Christine McGuinness (centre) with some of her staff at Back to Nature in Cavan Town.

Protest at 23% VAT on food supplements

A local health food store is to take part in a national ‘black-out’ day of action this Friday, February 8, in protest at Revenue’s plans to introduce a VAT rate of 23% on all food supplements from the start of next month.
‘Back to Nature’ in Cavan Town is owned by Christine McGuinness. She says, if the Government presses ahead with increasing the 0% rate at which food supplements have been sold in Ireland at for the past 40 years, it could decimate an industry built on small retailers across the country.
She described the proposal as a “tax on the people of Ireland”, citing for example the price increase on necessary products such as folic acid for pregnant women or iron supplements for those with anaemia.
It’s understood that consultations between Revenue, the Department of Health and the Department of Finance, have taken place, however these have since ceased and Ms McGuinness is calling on the Government to consider the implications any sudden change might have.
“If you think about it, there is 0% on sugar, there is 0% on white flour, so the things the government are saying we need to cut down on that are linked to issues such as obesity, are still 0%. But the things that are used by many people to help them with their health, the vitamins and minerals being taken to help ease the burden on the medical system are now going to be penalised,” she says.
Along with blacking out windows on Friday, ‘Back to Nature’ will also encourage customers to sign a petition, which will be sent to Revenue Commissioners and the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, as part of a campaign seeking to defer the application of 23% VAT on food supplements.