Saturday 21 January 2017

Tax on alcohol must rise in Budget to cover the social cost

Published 17/09/2015 | 02:30

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

In 'Noonan considers tax hike on cigarettes and alcohol' (Irish Independent, September 15), cigarettes and alcohol are referred to as the 'old reliables'. During 18 of the last 26 Budgets, there has been either no change in excise duty on alcohol or a decrease in rates.

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If you are an 18-year-old in Ireland today, the excise duty on a pint has increased just twice, and been cut once, during your lifetime. Meanwhile, there has been an explosion in the availability of strong, cheap alcohol in the off-trade, where supermarkets now dominate.

Alcohol is far from an 'old reliable' and the rates of excise duty have declined significantly in real terms in recent decades, as alcohol affordability has increased.

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