The National Off-License Association has launched its pre-Budget submission by revealing that nearly half of its members cite high levels of excise duty as the biggest challenge to their business.
The 2015 NOffLA Members Survey found that 46% felt the current level of excise duty, which was increased in 2013 and 2014, is the main reason they are seeing a decline in their businesses.
Half of the respondents said that they had seen a decline in turnover in 2014 compared to 2013, while 52% saw a decrease in wine sales alone of up to 30%.
Furthermore, if excise duty is increased again in the next Budget 2016, 51% report they will struggle to remain open, while 44% will be obliged to reduce staff by at least one member.
Government Affairs Director at NOffLA, Evelyn Jones, commented that independent off-licences are still facing challenges despite an improving economic climate, which are aggravated by Government taxation policy.
“The disparity in the taxation of wine when compared to other alcohol products is a clear example of how legislation needs to reflect the trading environment, supporting SMEs and encouraging responsible retail of alcohol,” said Jones.
“The punitive levels of taxation make it impossible for independent retailers to forecast with any certainty in terms of expansion and investment in new employees, their premises and new products thus inhibiting their long-term viability,” she added.
As it stands, 86% of independent off-licence retailers surveyed say that the Government is not doing enough to support SMEs, with another 78% of respondents expecting their turnover to stay the same or decrease over the coming year.
The survey also found that if the excise increases of the last two Budgets were reversed, 70% would hire one or more extra staff and 42% would increase staff pay.
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan