The Minister for Finance has said the Government accepts that some businesses may not be able to pass on the full cut in VAT announced in yesterday's July stimulus. 

Paschal Donohoe said the Government wants all retailers to pass on the 23% to 21% reduction in VAT.

But he added that it does recognise that for some retailers the situation is so precarious that they may use this reduction to pass some of it on to the shopper and use some of it to keep their staff employed. 

"For some retailers, times are so hard at the moment for some of them that they may face a situation where for example if they were to pass on the full effect of the VAT reduction this could create a dilemma for them, where they are looking at, is this reduction actually affordable for them, do they have to make choices in relation to people they are employing, do they have to make choices in relation to the viability of their business?" he said. 

Mr Donohoe said the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and all Ministers in Government fully recognise the pressures and challenges that the retail sector is facing. 

"The message that came out of the July jobs plan yesterday was very clear - we recognise the challenges that our retailers are facing today and we recognise the challenges that they face with the number of people they employ, with the contribution they make to the economy all over our country," he said. 

However, he added that while it is legally up to retailers to set their own prices, he expects profitable retailers will pass the full cut onto their customers. 

He was speaking as a number of Government Ministers outlined in further detail some of the measures announced in yesterday's July Stimulus package. 

Mr Donohoe also defended the Stay and Spend initiative, which offers a tax credit back against money spent on accommodation, food and non-alcoholic drink during the tourism off-season, against criticism from Sinn Féin that money spent in January next year would not be given back as a credit for 18 months. 

"This is an initiative that is new, we have to come up with new ideas, we have to come up with new policies, we have to come up with initiatives that are new, that are dynamic, that reflect the dynamism of the sector we are looking to support," he said. 

Mr Donohoe said the reason the initiative does not begin until later in the year is because the Government wants to encourage people to book another holiday later in the year. 

He added that it is the case that the rebalancing will take place at the end of the tax year, but said that is the reason that the discount available is so high.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said it was now up to business organisations to relay the detail of the schemes to their members. 

He said the focus of the Government in the coming weeks will be all about implementing what has been announced. 

"It is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation and we believe it will have a real impact, a beneficial impact and we are determined to bring that about," he said. 

In total, Government spending this year will be €86bn, versus the expected €70bn at the start of the year, he said. 

Amid claims by some organisations that the stimulus is not enough, Mr Donohoe said the total plan on top of what has already been done before, will bring the Exchequer to a deficit of approximately €30bn, when the expectation is that tax revenue this year will be between €49bn and €50bn. 

"So we are putting in place interventions that represent a huge share of the amount of tax we are going to collect this year," he said.

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin said she hopes the tourism industry, which has been critical of the scale of the plan, will look at the whole suite of measures, both specific and wider. 

She pointed to the scheme to help tourism businesses adapt to the public health measures, as well as a scheme to help coach companies, the Stay and Spend initiative, the extension of the wage subsidy scheme and the expansion of the restart grants. 

The Minister for Finance said the package is very much in line with, and in some cases ahead, of the scale of package undertaken by many comparable countries. 

He said the UK's summer package represented 1.5% of UK national income, whereas the Irish plan represents 3% of our national income, and on a per capita basis represents over €1,000 for every citizen compared to £450 per citizen in the UK. 

He added that the projected deficit for the country this year is now €30bn. 

The total of the additional expenditure, equity investments and credit guarantees promised have a value now of €24bn or 14% of national income as measured by GNI*.