Off-sales tax could replace alcohol sports funds – VFI

  • Post category:News
A group representing publicans has said revenues from an off-sales alcohol tax could replace sports sponsorship funding.

From The Irish Times

The statement from the Vintners Federation of Ireland follows a report in today’s Irish Times that Government ministers pushing for banning alcohol sponsorship have been told they will have to come up with alternative funding sources.

The VFI, which represents some 4,200 publicans outside Dublin, said that if the Government were to phase out and ban alcohol sports sponsorship, the “vacuum must be filled in order to protect the sports industry”.

It said its proposal to introduce a 15 per cent “lid-levy” could raise €240m for the Exchequer. It has been estimated that alcohol sponsorship was worth at least €20 million a year.

The “lid levy”, which was presented ahead of last year’s Budget by publicans, proposes a 15 per cent tax on all unopened alcohol products sold in the off-trade.

The VFI said such a levy will protect some 50,000 jobs in the on-trade, address the problem of the availability of cheap alcohol in supermarkets, while “generating badly needed revenue for sports and other areas”.

Minister of State for Health Alex White has presented proposals to Government to ban all alcohol sponsorship in sports by 2020 but the matter has yet to go to Cabinet for formal approval.

In a series of Cabinet subcommittee meetings involving relevant Ministers, the basic principle of a ban has been accepted but Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister for Arts and Culture Jimmy Deenihan have argued it cannot go ahead until matching alternative funding is in place to compensate sporting organisations.

“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,” VFI president Gerry Rafter said.

“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 said.