Retail Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the retail sector, said Budget 2013 will negatively impact on consumers and retailers, however moves to freeze excise duty on fuel and the introduction of measures on Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) for private pensions are welcome developments.
Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam said: "Today's Budget is unlikely to entice consumers back into stores. The increase in alcohol excise may drive consumers north of the border again as the price of beer, wine and spirits rises. The increase in tobacco excise, although smaller than last year's, will only further encourage criminal elements to supply illicit cigarettes on the black market. The decision to freeze VAT is welcome as is the decision to freeze excise duty on fuel."
Retail Ireland Chairman and Topaz Energy Retail Director Frank Gleeson said: "As a practicing retailer, I know how difficult things on the ground are for shop owners. The fuel rebate for hauliers is very welcome, as is the decision to allow for the early release of a portion of Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) for private pensions. This could help stimulate the domestic economy and is an issue Retail Ireland has campaigned on this year.
"I am also delighted to hear from Minister Howlin that this may be the final year that the Budget will be announced just as the Christmas shopping season starts. Consumers need clarity much earlier in the year to plan their spending. Ministers should resolve to hold next year's Budget well in advance of December."