An extra 10c in excise duty has been placed on the price of alcohol in line with the government announcement for Budget 2014. The tax is targeting pints of beer, cider and pub measures of spirits, while an extra 50c has been added to the price of wine.
Gerry Rafter, President of the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland, was angered by the Government’s decision, which he believes will widen the existing gap between pubs and supermarkets.
Lobby groups such as his organisation, as well as doctors, have long argued for a minimum selling price to be designated for alcohol as many supermarkets currently sell alcohol at below cost-price, which vintners are not in a position to do.
In its pre-budget submission Alcohol Action called for a halt to the selling of strong alcohol in supermarkets at ‘pocket-money prices’. According to their statement, these strong and cheap drinks are favoured by young people, who have the least disposable income.
Young people tend to drink at home or pre-drink before going out to socialise, which can lead them to become highly intoxicated, which impacts upon long-term health, as well as to anti-social behaviour. According to the World Health Organisation, “there is indisputable evidence – if the price of alcohol goes up, alcohol-related harm goes down”.
One DCU student felt the 10c hike won’t make a big difference to consumers, especially students, when purchasing alcohol: “Myself and my friends already buy beer or spirits in a supermarket before going out because it’s far cheaper and means you don’t have to spend a fortune on drinks in a pub or nightclub, so this tax won’t mean much to us.”