INDEPENDENT OFF-LICENCES say they are feeling the effects of the increase in excise duty introduced in the last budget and have warned that they are now at breaking point.
A survey conducted by teh national Off-Licence Association (NoffLA) found that 60 per cent of these businesses may be forced to close in 2015 if excise is increased this October.
Almost half of respondents reported a decrease in turnover in 2013, when compared to 2012 and only 7 per cent have managed to maintain their pre-Budget 2014 sales volumes.
More than one third have already had to let staff go “as a direct consequence of the increases” in the last two Budgets. Furthermore, 61 per cent said they would reduce staff if there is a further increase in the next Budget.
However 56 per cent said they would hire staff if previous increases were reversed and one third would give staff wages a bump.
IN its pre-budget submission, Noffla is calling on the government to reverse these increases and introduce measures to stop the sale of below cost alcohol. The association said the industry has lost 3,000 jobs since 2008.
Ireland currently has the highest tax on wine in the EU, the second highest on cider and third highest on spirits and beer.
Evelyn Jones, Chairperson of Noffla said increasing excise duty “does not discourage alcohol consumption, rather it contributes to unemployment, promotes criminal activity and removes all public health controls”.
“We believe the Government has the power to do something positive for independent businesses all across Ireland,” she said. “While still operating in a challenging economic climate, NOffLA members are committed to local communities and have clearly stated a desire to invest and continue to encourage the responsible consumption of alcohol.”