The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has said the effective ‘Support Your Local’ campaign, combined with strong pre Budget engagement from the LVA, has helped avoid an increase in excise duty despite the obvious need for extra Exchequer revenue. The LVA also welcomed the €40 million commitment to tourism funding but called for that funding to be targeted at boosting actual tourism businesses.
Speaking following the Budget 2020 announcement, LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe said, “As we have seen in recent years there would seem to be a view in Government that alcohol rates are inelastic and can sustain over the top taxation. When you also consider there was a clear focus on increasing Exchequer revenue, as illustrated in the €140m+ increase in stamp duty, avoiding any change in excise taxes on alcohol is an effective result.
“That was due to the strong ‘Support Your Local’ campaign implemented this year, an effort that the LVA was able to support as a central member of the campaign group and through our own direct pre Budget engagements. The membership really rallied behind this year’s campaign and that involvement played a key role in helping us to gain momentum and in capturing the attention of the Government.
“It is now well established that Ireland has among the highest rates of excise duty on alcohol throughout Europe. Unfortunately that imbalance will not be addressed in this budget, leaving the price of alcohol at an inflated rate when compared with our European counterparts and competitors.
“The year ahead will see further challenges for the industry, not least the impact of any potential Brexit developments and the implications they could have on tourism and the supply chain for imports and exports. The industry will have to work together over the course of the coming year to make the Government understand why we should not be the outliers of Europe on excise. We need to make them understand that consumer behaviour and tourism are bearing the brunt of this taxation and that is being felt throughout the hospitality sector in this country.
“That battle has to begin immediately and that is certainly the approach the LVA will be adopting as we seek to move political minds, a job that begins from today and will continue throughout the coming year.
“The special €40 million commitment to the tourism sector is welcome, but we need to be sure that will go towards actual tourism businesses. Apparently the funding will include a specific promotion towards the British market. Given the central role that pubs play in our tourism offer we hope that role will be reflected in any promotional activity,” Mr. O’Keeffe concluded.