Monday 23 October 2017

Shoppers stocked up on alcohol before Budget

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

SHOPPERS stocked up on alcohol and cigarettes ahead of the Budget last month, the latest Exchequer returns reveal.

Excise surged 27.9pc higher than targeted in October before the fears of consumers were confirmed as Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced a 10-cent increase on a pack of 20 cigarettes, a 10-cent increase on a pint of beer and a 50-cent hike on a bottle of wine.

The surge in excise helped drive a 1.4pc better-than-expected tax take last month, with the State's finances broadly on target for the year to date.

In the year to the end of October, €29.2bn was taken in through taxes – which was €37m ahead of target.

The figures continue to paint a mixed picture of the economy, with income tax, VAT and excise all down on the year to date. But there is increased house buying and stocks being traded. Corporation tax was also up.

Some €215m has been collected from the property tax this year, almost a third higher than expected at this point.

About €35.3bn has been spent by government departments in the year to date, compared with a budgeted €36.15bn. The departments of Health and Justice were the only two departments to have spent more than targeted, by 0.4pc and 0.9pc respectively.

About €33.4bn went on current spending and €1.8bn went on capital.

Key figures from the year so far show:

* Total tax take €29.2bn – up €37m on the target.

* €12.1bn was taken in through income tax – 1pc lower than hoped.

* €8.6bn brought in from VAT – 2.1pc lower.

* Corporation tax was €2.8bn – up 9.3pc on projections

* Excise was at €3.9bn – down 1.3pc

An exchequer deficit of €10.5bn was recorded at the end of last month, an improvement of €3.5bn compared with the first 10 months of 2012.

The cost of servicing the national debt – at €7.2bn to the end of October – was €1bn higher than the same period last year. This reflects the increase in stock of debt, as well as the first interest payments on the IBRC bonds, which replaced the promissory note.

Grant Thornton pointed out that the tax hikes announced in the Budget were not reflected in the figures and warned there could be a weak set of VAT figures announced next month.

Alan McQuaid, of Merrion Stockbrokers, said the figures were of little relevance, with the November data due next month providing a better picture of the budgetary outlook for the year.

Irish Independent

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