Brexit “strong justification” for excise cut

The Licensed Vintners Association has described Budget 2017’s maintenance of the status quo on excise and the continuance of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector as a “reasonable outcome for the trade”.

But in a short statement, the LVA, which represents over 600 publicans employing over 10,000 people, said the threat which Brexit posed to the sector should not be underestimated.

The rapid devaluation of sterling in recent weeks was a stark reminder of what the future might hold, commented LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, adding that there was now a strong case to be made for a cut in alcohol excise rates.

“The UK is our most important tourist market with a massive 1.2 million visitors last year,” he said, “If a lot fewer tourists come here from the UK and those that do come spend less, this will have a hugely detrimental effect on our tourism industry.  In that light there’s strong justification for a substantial cut in excise. Let’s not forget this country already has one of the highest excise rates in Europe.

“Given the large scale of our pubs’ food offering we very much welcome the continuation of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector,” he continued, “We also welcome the increase of the earned income tax credit for the self-employed by €400 to €950 and we look forward to this being brought up to the €1,650 tax credit which PAYE workers currently enjoy in the next budget.”

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free