A LIMERICK health food and supplements business has started a campaign to get a reversal of the decision to slap 23 per cent VAT on ordinary supplements regularly taken by pregnant women. older people and young children.
As of March 1, there will be VAT charged on health food supplements, vitamins and minerals for the first time in 47 years, as revenue has decided that these cannot be classed as food items any longer.
Manager of ‘Nature’s Hand’, Linda Barry, said the move is short-sighted and self-defeating and she has started a petition and postcard campaign to have the decision reversed.
“People want to take control of their own health and this is taking that control back from them,” Ms Barry told the Limerick Post.
“We’re talking about things like folic acid, which is essential for pregnant women, cod liver oil for older people who have joint problems, vitamin D, which everyone including small children needs because we have no vitamin D in us in Ireland.
“These are not luxury goods – they are ordinary everyday health boosters. People want to stay healthy and stay out of hospital but 23 percent is a lot and for a lot of people, who are finding it hard to make ends meet. it might be the reason they will no longer take these supplements. It’s scary”.
Ms Barry said that the whole decision is “ridiculous when you look at charging 23 per cent on vitamins and 13 per cent VAT on a hamburger out of a fast food place”.
She says that a lot of small businesses in the industry are concerned that customers will drift away because of the increase and businesses will go under.
Ms Barry has started a petition in the store in the Crescent Shopping centre and she is also providing postcards for people to send to their TDs and Senators, asking them to have the decision rescinded.
“We’ll even post the cards for them,” said Ms Barry.