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More off-licences expected to close if government refuses to reduce excise duty

An association representing independent off-licences also said today that there should be a ban on selling alcohol below cost.

AN ASSOCIATION REPRESENTING 315 off-licences in Ireland has appealed to the government to reverse excise duty increases and ban below cost selling of alcohol to prevent further business closures.

The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) today launched its pre-budget submission, highlighting the loss of 3,000 jobs in the sector since 2008. Already this year, ten independent off-licences have closed their doors for good.

The first recommendation is that the government reverses its increases to excise duty which were enforced in last year’s budget. Last year the government said it would raise an extra €180 million but NoffLA said that targets are “dangerously below this target” with only €29 million extra being collected by the Exchequer up until May of this year.

The association said that this shows the excise duty is failing and added that “this poor performance is being felt on the ground” with those running off-licences reporting serious declines in sale volumes because of the higher excises.

In its submission, NOffLA said the Exchequer is currently losing out on a potential €21 million through “below cost” selling of alcohol.

Under this practice, retailers can reclaim VAT on the losses they incur on products chosen to be sold below cost, such as alcohol.

The association said today that inaction on these two issues could result in a further 15 businesses closing down before the years is over and possibly another 25 next year on top of that.

“Our members are based across the length and breadth of Ireland and provide much needed jobs to every area of the country,” said NOffLA Chairperson Evelyn Jones today. “If these jobs disappear, they won’t be replaced. If action isn’t taken, continued job losses will cause immense damage at a time when employment is scarce.”

“NOffLA members have always paid their fair share to the Exchequer, but the current unfair trading environment means off-licences will continue to close at a shocking rate and this has a hugely negative effect on the State’s economic well being,” she added.

Read: Taxman rakes in €17.6bn in last six months despite missing excise, VAT targets>
Read: Irish people are drinking 700 times more than we should>

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