independent

Wednesday 17 January 2018

No new drink tax, but changes will hit pubs

WEXFORD publicans are glad that the Government didn't increase the duty on alcohol – as the sector is under enough pressure already.

Ferns bar owner Tom Dunbar, joint PRO of County Wexford Vintners' Association, said the move is a welcome but unsurprising one as tax on beer and spirits is at saturation point in Ireland.

Publicans haven't got off scot-free as increases in taxation and other charges will hit publicans both personally and in their businesses, according to Mr Dunbar. 'All the increases mean that the discretionary spend will be down and people will have less money to socialise,' he said. The pub industry has suffered from a big drop in trade in recent years as a result of lifestyle changes, with many people now opting to drink at home. 'Seventy per cent of drink used to be served in a pub. It's now down to 45 per cent or less. A lot of it is down to the cheap booze in supermarkets,' he said. ' Business is very tough. The rates and charges people have to pay are crippling. Small businesses are finding it difficult to meet overheads and they face more increases as a result of the Budget.'

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