Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, notes the announcements of Budget 2023 by Ministers Donohoe and McGrath and welcome that government has not acquiesced to the pressure from alcohol producers to reduce excise duties on alcohol products, which would have enhanced affordability of alcohol.
We regret that the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, did not take note of our advice on establishing a CPI link to all alcohol excise duties or a much-needed alcohol harm levy to establish annual income streams for coherent alcohol initiatives and programmes.
Equally, it is disappointing that the views of the Commission on Taxation & Welfare to strengthen the link between public health rationale and the design of taxes has again been missed, with further excise relief been afforded to certain alcohol producers.
Alcohol sales continue to rebound to pre-pandemic levels with provisional receipts from Revenue for H1, 2022, indicating that alcohol use has increased by over 15% this year, so far.
This suggests that progress made in reaching the government policy of 20% reduction in alcohol use has been eroded. By failing to act on establishing a CPI link – currently running at 6.1% year on year (Aug) – to alcohol taxes, alcohol affordability continues to be enhanced.