Wednesday 18 October 2017

Dip in sterling and cross-Border shopping 'yet to hurt State coffers'

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Tom Burke
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Tom Burke

Donal O'Donovan and Kevin Doyle

Cross-Border shopping linked to the plunge in sterling has not hurt the Exchequer, officials insisted yesterday.

It comes after the Central Statistics Office last month said consumers stocking up on cigarettes, petrol and alcohol north of the Border could be behind a fall in excise duties over the last year. But Department of Finance officials yesterday said they've been told that Revenue has seen "no great pattern" from higher cross-Border sales reflected in tax figures so far.

Meanwhile, sources said there would be no repeat next week of the last-minute moves that saw €300m added to the Government's spending power in the days before Budget 2017.

Sources say the €350m signalled as the amount available for tax cuts and new spending "will not change". Last year, then-finance minister Michael Noonan found an extra €300m just days before the Budget. This year, Fianna Fáil believes Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe could raise "hundreds of millions" through new taxes, which could boost spending.

The main Opposition held meetings with Mr Donohoe yesterday. Sources said "progress is being made but there's a long way to go before things are tied down over the weekend".

Meanwhile, Junior Minister John Halligan has proposed a higher tax on gambling to raise in the region of €55m, which Independent Alliance TDs want ring-fenced for mental health services, but Mr Donohoe is "cautious" about hitting gambling companies who employ big numbers here.

Irish Independent

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