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Boyd Barrett: Increase In Tobacco Tax 'Just A Grab For Money'

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has labelled the government's decision to increase tax on tobacco products in the most recent Budget as "just a grab for money."

Speaking in the Dáil, Boyd Barrett said that he did not think the tax increase is a "health measure; it is a budget measure to grab money and it is one that largely hits the least well-off, as do so many tax increases on commodities people buy, whether they are good or bad for one’s health, such as cigarettes and alcohol."

Boyd Barrett described the tax increase as "regressive", describing it, and the increase in excise on alcohol, "as another disproportionate hit for the less well-off - those on lower incomes who are being hammered from every quarter. This is symptomatic of the problem with the Government’s approach to taxation generally - not just this Government but successive Governments.

"Rather than opt for truly progressive redistributive taxation, they keep hitting the same group of people and effectively reducing their disposable income by loading taxes on goods they buy."

Boyd Barrett's comments came on the same day (Thursday 5th) that Minister for Health Dr James Reilly TD and Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer officially presented the heads of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2013 to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

In his comments to the Committee, Minister Reilly said that he was “looking forward to very useful input from those of a similar disposition” on the matter.

Commenting, NFRN Ireland president Joe Sweeney expressed his 'astonishment' at the Minister's decision to press ahead with the proposals. “I’m astonished that a member of the Irish Cabinet could have such cavalier disregard for the retailers and tax payers of this country,” he said. “It is time for the retail community and the hardworking, taxpaying people of this country to stand up to Minister Reilly and say enough is enough.”

© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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