Fear of more cuts as drinks trade sheds 25,000 jobs
MORE than 25,000 jobs have been lost in the drinks industry over the past two years as the economic downturn ravages the sector.
And there are fears the losses may continue to grow as shoppers continue to look to the North for cheaper alcohol.
A new report by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) will today reveal a quarter of jobs were lost in the industry between 2008 and 2010.
In 2008, 100,000 people worked in the sector, but this has plummeted to 75,000 as the market declines in a weakened economy.
'The Economic Contribution of the Drinks Industry', which was written by Anthony Foley of DCU, comes after repeated job loss warnings by DIGI.
The group recently said the pub trade was experiencing an effective meltdown, with a 14.1pc decline in the first seven months of 2010. That came on top of an 8.8pc decline in 2009.
The new report will show that the Government's plan to tackle cross-border shopping in last year's Budget has not stopped shoppers going North.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan had reduced excise duty on alcoholic drink.
The sector also benefited from the decision by the UK to increase its VAT rate from 15pc to 17.5pc -- the Irish rate was reduced from 21.5pc to 21pc.
The report shows the market stabilised in the first six months after the excise cuts were announced -- with a 6.4pc increase in sales.
However, cross-border shopping is starting to pick up again and is hitting sales in the south "very hard".
The DIGI report will propose a package of measures to restore confidence to the industry.
This will aim to address low consumer confidence and the challenges facing employment in the sector.