Monday, October 12, 2015

Top 10 reasons to reduce excise duty

Top 10 reasons why Michael Noonan should reduce excise duty on wine in Budget 2016


There are so many reasons to reduce excise duty on wine, it is hard to narrow it down to just 10, but here goes:

     Irish politicians see wine just as money

1.       Excise duty on wine is the highest in the EU, completely off the scale at €3.19 per bottle and a bubble-bursting €6.38 per bottle for sparkling wine. Our nearest rivals are the UK and Scandinavian countries, but we have raced into the lead in the last two years. Think about this – we pay 106 times more than the French while the Germans pay no duty at all. Zero!


2.       Excise duty has increased by 62% in budgets 2013/2014 – with the government now raking in an extra €150million per year just from wine. Why has it been targeted in this way? Is it because it is a soft target or because policy is being made by beer-swilling troglodytes who know no culture aside from agriculture? Soft target, probably.


3.       Wine is taxed more,  proportionally, than other alcohol products. Even though beer and spirits have stupidly high taxes on them, wine has been singled out and taxed higher than everything else.


                                      Michael Noonan talking to wine drinkers

4.       It’s tough on small businesses. Small wine shops and independent off-licences have families whose livelihoods are dependent on them being able to compete with supermarkets, who are able to sell wine below cost and then overcharge you for milk or whatever to make up the difference. Small businesses can’t do that and have to pass on wine duty increases in full.


5.       It’s anti-competitive and anti-European – entry level wine costs at least double in this country than in France or Spain. Why should Paddy have to pay double what Pierre or Carlos pays? Why?


6.       It’s anti-jobs. Wine companies in Ireland have been shutting down or shedding jobs directly as a result of the increases in wine duty. Conversely, imagine the boost to cross-border trade if wine was cheaper in Dundalk than Newry?



7.       Wine is both civilised and civilising – it is a drink to be enjoyed in moderation and with food. It makes food taste better and your friends better company.


          Civilised wine shop


8.       Wine is not the enemy. The sight of people drunk in the street, fighting and clogging up A&E is obviously a menace to society and a concern for us all. However, I don’t think these people have been drinking a nice glass of Gevrey Chambertin or a crisp, fresh Sancerre. More likely beer, cider, vodka, tablets, cocaine – maybe all of the above. But not wine. It’s a mentality change we need, not more tax on  wine drinkers.


9.       Wine is good for you! Not in a makey-up “Guinness is good for you” way, but actually, scientifically-proven good for you. In moderation, of course. A glass of red a day is rich in anti-oxidants and helps your digestive system. It’s practically medicine, except it tastes good.
10.    Just like the rest of the country, the wine trade needs a break. It's been a tough 7-8 years with many casualties along the way. Some breathing space would be nice...