The Licensed Vintners Association has pointed out that while the price of a pint has gone up 36 cents over the last three budgets, 28 cents or 78% of this increase has been due to extra tax.
“If the Government announced that it was going to introduce a €13 ‘going out tax’ there would be uproar,” stated the LVA’s Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe yesterday, “But they don’t have to announce it because it’s already there. For every €40 spent by consumers on alcohol, a third or around €13 is going straight to the Exchequer.”
Describing the Government’s policies as “myopic”, he pointed out that these same policies had created a hostile tax environment.
“Between December 2012 and October 2013 the Government increased excise on beer by 44%, excise on spirits increased by 37% and excise on wine increased by 62%. These increases hit the hard-pressed consumer, they hit visitors – tourists have identified the high price of alcohol as the second biggest disincentive to visit Ireland (after the weather) – and they hit the 92,000 Irish people whose jobs depend on the drinks industry,” he stated.
A recent LVA survey found that two out of three Dublin drinkers have a ‘local’ and that almost 80% believe going for a drink with their friends is important. It also found that the average spend on a night out is €81with half of that being spent on alcohol.
The LVA believes that cutting excise would be a further boost to consumer confidence while also benefitting the wider hospitality and services sector be it taxis, nightclubs, restaurants or hotels.
Donall O’Keeffe pointed out that Ireland has the highest excise rate in Europe and said the case for a cut is overwhelming.
“Alcohol has been hit hard for three budgets in a row. Through taxes on drink, pub-goers have made a disproportionate contribution to the public finances. The Government must now acknowledge the critical economic role played by the pub industry and give it the help it both needs and deserves,” he concluded.
The LVA represents over 600 pubs in Dublin employing over 10,000 people.