Monday, September 09 14:10:54
The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) today called for a reversal in the tax increases on alcohol that were introduced in last year's budget.
Last year's budget saw a 10cent increase on beer and spirits and E1 added to the price of a bottle of wine. Wine excise is now the highest in Europe, cider has the second highest tax in the EU, we have the third highest tax on spirits and taxes on beer are the fourth highest. According to Eurostat, the price of alcohol in Ireland is 62 percent higher than the EU average.
The DIGI insist that sales continue to decrease and almost a pub a day has closed since the excise increase in last years budget.
According to The DIGI taxes the excise increase has killed jobs, with the rate of pubs closing doubling since the measure was introduced. Budget 2013 expected excise to increase by E180 million or 21 percent on the 2012 level without allowing for buoyancy effects.
Peter O'Brien a spokesperson for The DIGI believes "the government should be setting up a task force to assist these small family-run businesses, and reverse last year's excise increase".
Figures for the first five months of 2013 show that alcohol excise receipts are substantially below the expected increase with Off-licence sales also declining in the first half of 2013.
According to clearance figures, cider sales have dropped by almost 8 per cent in the period, wine by 9 per cent and spirits by 13.5 per cent, whilst beer is up slightly.
O'Brien says that the increase has led to a rise in the sale of illegal alcohol, "Revenue has seized 3.5 times more illegal alcohol in first seven months of 2013 than it did in all of last year".
The DIGI spokesperson added that "employment in the industry has fallen by 3,300" and believes the government needs to act quick in order to stop the problem escalating.