Budget 2020: Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes retention of rates on alcohol products excise duty;
regrets the extension of excise reliefs for microbreweries.
Alcohol Action Ireland today (Tuesday 8th October) welcomed the decision by Mr Paschal Donohue TD, Minister for Finance, to retain the current rates of excise duty on alcohol products in Budget 2020.
This is the 7th year in a row that excise duty has remained untouched in Budget considerations. As result, in real terms, and mindful of a relatively low annual inflation rate, the price of alcohol continues to fall and be increasingly affordable.
Commenting on the Budget, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy, said:
In our Pre-Budget 2020 submission, Alcohol Action Ireland urged the Minister not to reduce excise duties and to retain existing excise duties on alcohol products. We are glad that Minister Donohue has resisted the intensive lobbying of the alcohol industry, who had campaigned to have alcohol made even more affordable, despite the underlying data on our national alcohol consumption showing sustained rises.
Equally, we had urged the Minister to consider the introduction of a cost-of-living index to excise rates from 2021. We regret that this opportunity has not been taken and that as result the affordability of alcohol products will continue to grow.
In addition, we had advised the Minister to begin the process of tapering the tax relief afforded to micro-breweries both in terms of the qualifying hectolitre limits and the percentage reduction of alcohol product tax. By extending this relief (€5.8m: 2018) to further benefit an already buoyant alcohol industry is regrettable especially when public funds are so limited in alcohol treatment services.
The retention of the existing duties, coupled with the introduction of Minimum Unit Price on all alcohol products, as enacted in the Public Health (Alcohol) Act but not yet commenced, can curb the availability of cheap, strong alcohol and stimulate a downward trend in alcohol consumption.
Ireland’s alcohol consumption rate currently stands at 80% above global average.