Fine Gael Senator, Catherine Noone, has today backed research undertaken by Alcohol Action Ireland which highlights that, despite what alcohol companies try to spin, beer is in fact not a budget “old reliable” when it comes to increasing excise – with only three increases between 1990 and 2015, and one decrease.
“I fully back the call from Alcohol Action Ireland to ensure that excise duty on alcohol is set at a level which reflects the impact and cost that alcohol has on our society – whether it’s socially, economically or in our healthcare system.
“This great myth has taken root that somehow excise duty is an ‘old reliable’ when it comes to the Budget – and I really think this needs to be tackled. Between 1990 and 2015, the excise on beer was only increased three times, while actually being decreased once in the same period. Similarly, the excise on wine was only increased four times in that 25 year period, while also being decreased once. The excise duty on beer being increased in one out of every eight budgets hardly makes it an ‘old reliable’, as the alcohol spin merchants try and make us believe.
“I believe that Budget 2016 needs to go some way to tackling this issue as we have one of the highest levels of both alcohol consumption and binge drinking in the world. This costs us a huge amount between healthcare costs, crime costs and lost productivity in our workforce.
“This needs to be tackled with a raise in the excise duty but, first, the myth that this is a regular budgetary mechanism also has to be tackled. There are a great many myths perpetuated by the alcohol industry, and I believe we need to make sure that the public are aware of the facts.”