“In the context of the difficult decisions that the Government has had to take at this time, DIGI welcomes the decision not to increase excise taxes on alcohol which remain amongst the highest in the European Union,” he commented, “This builds on last December’s excise reduction which was passed-on in full by the industry and had the effect of stemming cross-border sales and repatriating much of the revenue lost to Northern Ireland as well as boosting consumer spending, the retail trade, the local drinks market and the economy in general.
“Today’s decision will also assist the employment-intensive on-trade, (pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels) that has continued to suffer serious declines throughout 2010 (down approximately 14 per cent so far this year).
“While our drinks products are performing well on international markets, our export success is founded on a solid domestic market. For that reason we will now work with Government to identify ways to protect the 78,000 jobs and €2 billion in tax revenue we support and to enhance our tourism competitiveness through the facilities and services that we provide. We will also seek to build on the €1 billion in drinks exports which we currently generate and to grow our contribution to an export-led recovery.”