Tis the season to be merry
DRINK and be merry because Budget hikes on wine, beer and spirits won't affect most of us until after Christmas.
A number of retailers have confirmed they are offering shoppers a brief holiday from the price increases. Tesco, Supervalu and O'Briens are among the multi-store retailers who have committed to keeping their special offers until the New Year.
It is understood that as excise duty is paid at the time of importation, any of the wine currently in stock was subject to the old excise rate, so retailers should not charge consumers more as long as the stock lasts.
ICTU calls for mass rallies
MASS rallies, with thousands of workers and families on the streets, are being planned by The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), in the wake of yet another austerity Budget.
"We have reached a critical juncture," said ICTU general secretary David Begg. ICTU wants a national anti-austerity protest on February 9 and half-a-dozen major marches are planned.
ICTU will discuss the protest plans at its executive council meeting next Wednesday. Mr Begg said he believed the protests would be on a similar scale to the 1979 tax marches, or the 2005 rallies in support of employment rights in Irish Ferries, when over 100,000 people took to the streets.
Sugar tax plan turns sour
The Government went sour on proposals to introduce a sugar tax on fizzy drinks because it was already subject to a VAT rate of 23pc.
A report commissioned by the Department of Health came down in favour of a 10pc tax on fizzy drinks in a bid to cut obesity.
However, Health Minister James Reilly said yesterday that when he spoke to Finance Minister Michael Noonan about the sugar tax he pointed out they were already subject to the higher VAT rate.
"He pointed out to me, and I think it was a very good point that bottled water or milk do not attract VAT but sweet-ened drinks do. You can say there is already an extra tax on them."