The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has recently warned Government of at least 750 job losses in the independent off-licence sector alone, in the event of an increase to excise duties.
“Our members are growing increasingly concerned regarding the possibility of a perfect storm, with a No Deal Budget including increases to excise duties to raise Government revenues," Evelyn Jones, Government Affairs Director of NOffLA said.
The warning was made following the publication of NOffLA’s Pre-Budget Submission and amid increasing concerns within the drinks sector regarding the implications of a No Deal Brexit.
According to the Summer Economic Statement, the Department of Finance is preparing budgetary options for an orderly withdrawal and a No Deal Brexit, the group highlighted.
The research showed that a vast majority (98%) of NOffLA members do not believe the Government is doing enough to support SMEs.
"The independent off-licence sector continues to face significant challenges due to Ireland’s punitive alcohol tax regime," Jones added.
"Our excise rates are damaging for local communities, and have driven NOffLA members to the brink of commercial failure. A No Deal Brexit would likely be the final nail in the coffin for our sector.”
The results of the 2019 NOffLA Annual Members’ Survey, which have been presented to the Minister for Finance, show that were excise to be increased in Budget 2020, 57% of members would be forced to let staff go and 63% would struggle to remain open.
Jones explained: "Excise increases also have shown to be a wholly ineffective means of reducing alcohol consumption."
"Government is now progressing targeted public health measures through Minimum Unit Pricing, and so we are calling on Government to reduce excise duty to support local businesses throughout the country."
Since 2008, the off-licence sector has lost 3,000 jobs.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.