NOffLA rejects VFI’s ‘Lid Levy’ calls

NOffLA chairperson Evelyn Jones said: "We are still operating in a challenging economic climate but today’s announcement will serve to provide a degree of reassurance to small business owners all over Ireland.”
NOffLA has appointed Evelyn Jones as its Government Affairs director

The National Off-Licence Association has rejected the recent repeat call by the Vintners Federation of Ireland for a ‘Lid Levy’ to source alternative funding to alcohol companies for sports sponsorship.



13 August 2013

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The Lid Levy represents a proposed charge on all unopened alcohol products sold in the off-trade which, claims the VFI,  would go a long way to protect the employment-intensive on-trade sector and 50,000 associated jobs while generating badly-needed revenue for sports and other areas.

Speaking about the VFI’s continuing call for this 15% off-licence levy NOffLA Chairperson Evelyn Jones said, “This proposal which the VFI have been calling for since 2012 could not be introduced because it would likely be in breach of EU Excise law”.
The VFI estimates that the alcohol industry is responsible for at least €20m in sponsorship money to sporting and arts-related competitions, festivals and events in Ireland every year. This accounts for 20% of the Irish sponsorship market. If the government were to phase out and ultimately ban alcohol sponsorship, then the VFI strongly argues that this vacuum must be filled in order to protect the sports industry and support participation programmes in particular.

However Evelyn Jones argues: “Aside from the fact that the proposal offered up by the VFI would likely have no legal basis, it is ill-conceived and has been developed without an economic impact assessment. Consideration has not been given to the impact or consequences it would have on countless small businesses across Ireland. This move would lead to significant job losses and business closures.

The VFI has been urging the government to stop its procrastination on this issue and the wider issue of the sale and promotion of alcohol to give all stakeholders clarity and to bring an end to the irresponsible merchandising, marketing and sale of alcohol, particularly in the supermarket sector.
It developed the ‘Lid Levy’ proposal in conjunction with the Licensed Vintners’ Association last November and submitted it to government stating that it could raise €240m for the Exchequer.
According to the VFI, crucially, the proposal would help address the issue of the availability of cheap alcohol in supermarkets, is in line with government thinking on the matter “… and indeed reflects the recommendations of the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy”.
VFI President Gerry Rafter added, “Various ministers have rightly argued that a ban on alcohol sponsorship cannot go ahead until alternative funding is sourced to compensate sporting organisations for this significant loss of revenue. We have given the government a template that would generate over €200m in revenue annually and more than compensate sports bodies should a ban on alcohol sponsorship be introduced”.
He continued, “We are unashamedly saying that this Lid Levy proposal will help protect the labour intensive on-trade. 90% of pubs are family-owned and employ 50,000 people. We know the government needs to generate income so we’re giving them a solution that raises the necessary revenue and could fill a vacuum left by a ban on alcohol sponsorship while protecting jobs at the same time”.

But NOffLA’s Evelyn Jones has pointed out, “Ahead of Budget 2014, Government must look at realistic proposals that will help to make the sale and marketing of alcohol more responsible such as the introduction of a ban on below-cost selling and structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets”.




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