Excise is a blunt instrument that DOES NOT impact on alcohol misuse

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has today responded to Alcohol Action Ireland’s pre-budget submission which has urged the government not to lower excise duty in the next budget. They have said that excise is a blunt instrument that does not impact on misuse.

The Group have said that increases in excise have driven consumers away from safer drinking environments like the pub, to large multiple retailers selling cheap alcohol. Meanwhile the increases have damaged an indigenous industry who can’t off-set increases against other goods, and have done nothing to address misuse.

The Group also put into question the data cited by Alcohol Action Ireland. AAI claimed that consumption went up by 6% in 2010 when excise was cut. Their ‘consumption’ figure refers to revenue clearance data, which was in fact caused by more consumers returning to the South to shop. Excise was cut in 2010 to deal with the major problem of cross-border shopping. DIGI have highlighted the need for official CSO data on alcohol consumption.

Bart Storan, Campaign Manager for ‘Support Your Local…’ said: “Unfortunately Alcohol Action Ireland have chosen to gloss over some of the inconvenient facts in their budget submission today. The simple fact of the matter is that increasing tax on alcohol, including excise does not address misuse of the product.”

Excise on alcohol - the facts:
      • Since 2007 1,000 pubs have closed in Ireland.
      • 80% of the increase in the cost of a pint in the pub since 2011 has been directly caused by taxation  increases
      • The pub is widely considered to be one of the safest places to drink by health professionals
      • Large multiple retailers are currently selling deeply discounted alcohol to the public. They’re absorbing the excise duty increases and off-setting them against other goods.
      • The price of alcohol in Ireland is the highest in Europe (Eurostat), and while consumption is down, dangerous drinking habits persist
      • There is now a 35% average price difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic across all alcohol categories, which is having a harmful effect on pubs and off-licences in border counties.
      • The average Irish drinker pays €733 a year in alcohol tax. The same drinker in Germany, where consumption is more or less the same pays €307

Bart Storan continued, “The Government has approved an extensive package of measures to deal with alcohol misuse to be incorporated in a Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The package of measures to be implemented are expected to include provisions to deal with cheap alcohol on promotion, statutory code for the marketing and advertising of alcohol and a ban on price based advertising. This year the industry signed a pledge to introduce these policy options to tackle misuse.

“If we want to tackle alcohol abuse in this country we need to take targeted measures such as these instead of making headline grabbing pronouncements about measures which will cost jobs throughout the country by continuing to drive people to buy their alcohol on promotion. As we have seen from last year's budget excise tax increases, the price difference between alcohols bought in the pub and that bought in the off-trade are encouraging hard-pressed consumers to avoid the pub - even though health experts throughout Ireland have agreed that it is the best place to drink"

ENDS

Q4PR, 014751444
Martin Mackin: martin@q4pr.ie
Colin Taylor: colin@q4pr.ie /0833477014