The Association estimates that such a reduction would serve to create 1,786 new jobs and it has again called for a ban on the below-invoice-cost selling of alcohol.
Currently the State loses €24 million per annum due to below-invoice-cost selling and a ban would not only benefit the Exchequer but also promote the responsible retailing of alcohol, benefiting the health of communities all across Ireland.
“We’re fearful that retailers and SMEs operating in the drinks sector risk being left behind in terms of the ongoing recovery,” commented NOffLA’s Government Affairs Director Evelyn Jones on the upcoming Budget 2017,
“Our members, in particular those on the border, have already experienced lost sales due to an increase in cross-border shopping driven by a weak sterling in the wake of Brexit and this uncertainty looks likely to continue.
“We’re committed to supporting the communities we serve and simply ask for an equitable and sustainable trading environment. Unfortunately, the excise increases of Budget 2013 and Budget 2014 make this impossible, preventing us from investing in our businesses and local economies. Since 2008 some 3,000 jobs (35%) have been lost in the sector and 554 off-licences have closed. In April of this year alone seven off-licences closed.
“Unemployment may have fallen from a peak of 15% to 8.3% this last August, but if the government is committed to achieving full employment by 2020, retailers must be assisted to play a part in achieving that goal. A return to the 2012 level of excise on alcohol would go toward this by creating almost 2,000 jobs in communities all across Ireland,” she continued.
“Excise duty and employment are intertwined, with our members reporting that they’ve had to reduce staff to fund duty increases. In the most recent survey of our members, 57% said they would take on more staff if excise was reduced. 21.8% said they would take on more than one extra staff member. However, a further increase in excise duty would force 8.5% of outlets to close outright, with a further 44.7% struggling to remain open and 57% letting staff go to fund the cost of excise increases.
“NOffLA members are highly trained and responsible local retailers that contribute to their communities through direct investment and local employment,” she concluded, “We’re calling on the government to protect these local businesses that underpin communities all across Ireland.”