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Broad industry welcome on excise

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has welcomed the Government’s decision not to increase excise on alcohol in yesterday’s Budget.

The industry also welcomed the increase in excise relief for microbreweries, saying that this signified recognition of the significant role that the sector has to play in creating jobs, supporting our economy and driving tourism. Nevertheless, the DIGI has again called on the Government to reverse the recent excise increases on alcohol in next year’s Budget in order to create jobs and drive further growth through more people socialising in bars and restaurants.

DIGI Chairman and European Corporate Relations Director for Diageo Peter O’Brien explained, “It must be stated that the current excise level in this country is uncompetitive and that while today’s announcement represents an important first step in supporting this industry, we would call on government to reverse the excise increases of recent years in next year’s budget.”

Dublin’s Licensed Vintners Association too called for a reduction in excise in next year’s Budget.

While welcoming the fact that after three successive budgets of alcohol tax increases the Government has decided not to increase excise rates further in Budget 2015, LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe explained that this brought a welcome degree of stability to alcohol taxation and would be well received by members. In addition the retention of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector is also positive.

“While excise rates were not increased this time round the fact remains this country still has one of the highest excise rates on alcohol in Europe,” he continued, “Excise is a tax on hard-pressed consumers, damages our competitiveness from a tourist perspective and ultimately costs jobs.

“Through taxes on drink, pub goers have made a disproportionate contribution to the public finances. As the economy and the country’s fiscal position improves we look forward to seeing significant reductions in excise rates in next year’s budget.”

The LVA also acknowledged the support for craft brewers as it facilitates product innovation and greater consumer choice in the market place.

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland added that the Budget decision not to increase excise on alcohol would have a significant positive knock-on effect on the economy, giving a boost to the fragile economic growth in the hospitality sector and it welcomed the increase in excise relief for microbreweries.

“Going forwards we believe that the Government should use next year’s Budget as an opportunity to reverse excise on alcohol in order to promote job creation,” commented ABFI Director Kathryn D’Arcy, “Excise on alcohol in Ireland is already amongst the highest in Europe and the government must consider reversing it if they are serious about making Ireland the best little country in the world in which to do business.”

But will the Ministers be listening?

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