Budget 2019: NOffLA criticises government for failing to insulate drinks industry
Despite months of recommendations to that effect, the government has failed to reduce the excise levels on alcohol products in the Budget, drawing harsh criticism from the National Off-Licence Association, which says that the decision will cost jobs and revenue when Brexit takes place in just a few months' time.
9 October 2018 | 0
The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has criticised the government’s decision not to decrease excise duty on alcohol in Budget 2019, despite widespread urging to do so. The decision locks the independent off-licence sector out of the economic recovery, the group says, and will leave members exposed to Brexit-related cross-border trade.
Evelyn Jones, government affairs director of NOffLA stated that while NOffLA acknowledges the government’s decision to retain the current level of excise on alcohol, it is disappointed that the government has failed to recognise the commercial realities for the independent off-licence sector, and the Brexit-related threats that its members are facing.
“Increases in excise duty were emergency measures,” Jones said, “implemented in times of economic need. Ireland’s economy is now the fastest growing in Europe, and so like USC and other emergency measures, these must be rolled back.”
Under current excise rates, as much as 50% of the cost of a bottle of wine goes on Excise and VAT. In a NOffLA survey, 81% of off-licence retailers in Ireland said they believe that a 15% reduction in excise on alcohol would mitigate against the likely impacts of Brexit, and boost employment and salaries in the trade.
“NOffLA members are under serious threat due to cross-border trade,” Jones continued, “following the 15% drop in the value of Sterling since the Brexit referendum in 2016.
“There is now a 25% difference in the cost of alcohol between Ireland and the UK.”