Cutting VAT would add to alcohol crisis

 

Sir, – The idea that Ireland should seek to reduce the cost of alcohol and further fuel an already flaming public health crisis of alcohol harm seems particularly irresponsible (“Publicans and restaurateurs row over calls for VAT cuts”, News, July 2nd).

Over 2,700 people are dying every year In Ireland from alcohol-related harm and incident.

Every euro gathered in alcohol excise duty in Ireland is met with €3 of public expenditure to manage the impact of alcohol harm.

The National Substance Misuse Strategy, 2012, proposed a levy on all off-trade sale, and we in Alcohol Action Ireland support such a proposal as a means to establish a sustainable fund for alcohol prevention programmes and treatment.

There have only been three alterations to alcohol taxes since 2000. During the previous economic recession (2010), excise duties were reduced (20 per cent) and the immediate impact was to increase consumption by 5.5 per cent.

Reducing alcohol taxes would simply stimulate an increase of alcohol use, which evidence demonstrates will cause further harm and demand even greater public expenditure to manage the inevitable poor public health outcomes. – Yours, etc,

EUNAN McKINNEY,

Head of Communications

and Advocacy,

Alcohol Action Ireland,

Coleraine Street,

Dublin 7.