‘Brexit Budget’ call at NED conference

With export growth slowing, cross-border shopping increasing and sterling dropping 15% against the €uro in the year since the Brexit referendum, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has re-iterated its call on the government to draw up a ‘Brexit Budget’ for 2018 that prioritises the protection of Ireland’s drinks and hospitality sector.

More worrying for Ireland’s hospitality sector is the drop in the number of British tourists visiting the country, down 6.8% percent from January to May of 2017 compared to the same period last year. These trends look set to continue.

DIGI made the call at the National Economic Dialogue taking place in Dublin Castle today where it pointed out that a Brexit Budget was necessary to innovate and stimulate consumer spending and ecomomic growth.

Speaking at the NED conference, Drinks Industry Group of Ireland and Alcohol Beverage Federation Director Patricia Callan said, “Even before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Brexit is having tangible effects on the Irish economy. The hospitality sector and the drinks industry are particularly at risk. Together, they support almost 210,000 jobs across the length and breadth of the economy, generating wages of €2.9 billion.

“A continued shrink in British tourism numbers will be felt most in rural communities where the drinks and hospitality sector is often the primary or indeed only employer.

“To protect jobs and encourage investment, it’s imperative that the government produces a Brexit strategy and this year prioritises the creation of a ‘Brexit Budget’ which contains measures that safeguard Ireland’s key growth sectors, like hospitality,” she continued, “We require a Brexit Budget that delivers a stimulus package which encourages business growth and consumer spending. Failure to do so may leave us vulnerable to Brexit.

“In this budget, DIGI is calling for a reduction in Ireland’s alcohol excise tax, which is the second highest in the EU. Ireland’s hospitality and drinks sector is consistently ranked among our top tourist attractions but with a decline in the value of sterling, both are becoming expensive. A decrease in excise would help to make Ireland more affordable as a tourist destination and put more money back in the pockets of Irish consumers.”



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