Off-Licence Association claims alcohol rise 'will drive out-of-State sales'
on 15/10/2013 16:02:38
The group said it fears for the survival of the independent off-licence sector.
NOffLA, which represents 315 independent community-based specialist off-licences across Ireland, has witnessed 11 business closures and almost 60 job losses in the last eight months.
Chairperson of NOffLA, Evelyn Jones, said: "This is an extremely irresponsible decision by Government which will put independent off-licences under severe pressure, reignite out of State retailing and lead to another increase in illicit alcohol trading.
"Alcohol taxes in Ireland are now amongst the highest in Europe. Prior to this budget, we already had the highest taxed for wine, the second highest for cider, third highest for spirits and the fourth highest for beer. As a result of Budget 2013, Excise on wine was 576% above the EU average.
According to Jones, the Government may be in breach of EU competition law due to the rates of excise on alcohol products.
She said: "The Lisbon Treaty clearly states that no EU country can impose internal taxes on imports which would afford indirect protection to other products - this is exactly what is happening in Ireland with wine.
"Consider a standard €8.00 bottle of wine in Ireland. Over half of this price is attributable to tax (excise and VAT), with only €0.12 of the price actually accountable to the wine itself after today's increase.
"What is really happening is that people are just consuming poorer qualities of alcohol because of the huge tax content."