No increase in food prices on campus after Budget 2012

By Sam Griffin

Students who eat at restaurant facilities on campus will not be affected by the rise in VAT following December’s budget.

Trispace, the DCU owned catering company which operates seven restaurants and cafes on campus, confirmed to The College View that the recent changes in VAT will not affect students as catering within the education sector operates at a VAT rate of zero.

At present, a nine per cent VAT rate applies to the hospitality and tourism sector. Budget 2012 resulted in a two per cent increase in VAT on point of sale items, and it was feared this would result in price increases on food sold on campus.

A spokesperson for Trispace said: “The 9% VAT rate applies to the hospitality and tourism sector.  For student catering within the education sector, purchases made by students are at the VAT rate of zero.  Trispace is approved by Revenue to have this zero rate status for student purchases.”

Siobhan Murphy, business and operations manager of Trispace, said that the recent VAT changes do affect business buying from suppliers but that students will not suffer as a result.

“Within the food sector, VAT applies to luxury goods like minerals, chocolate, cakes and biscuits, and this is embedded into the cost of the product.  The recent VAT increase of 2% has not been passed onto customers.  It is a tax on consumer spending as opposed to a tax on a business and should in effect be passed on seamlessly,” she said.

At a recent meeting of the Class Rep Council, a point was raised that the food prices in the various restaurants on campus were too high, and the Students’ Union was called on to look into the matter.

Trispace has defended its prices, saying it is in regular contact with the SU regarding the issue of pricing and that it is aware that some of its customers are likely to be struggling financially.

However, Trispace admitted it was finding it difficult to maintain this position, citing the challenging economic times and the need to import a lot of its foods which are not available in Ireland.

“We are in regular contact with the Students’ Union and we are mindful that our customers are finding it particularly difficult to make ends meet over the last few years,” Murphy said.

“However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain this position as many of the foodstuffs that we need are by nature not available in our climate and are imported from all over the world. As a result our costs are influenced by currency fluctuations, commodity market prices and of course rising oil prices.”

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