Irish vintners want end to 'emergency tax' on alcohol

VFI says "we're now told that the emergency is over so it's time to move on..."

Pub owners have called for a 2013 hike in the excise duty on alcohol to be reversed in Budget 2017.

The Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) wants the Government to roll back what was described as an "emergency tax" three years ago.

In its pre-budget submission, the group blames the 15% increase on the 39c rise in the average price of a pint.

Reversing the hike would cost the Exchequer some €170m annually.

VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben said:

"That was an emergency tax brought in at the time and we're now told that the emergency is over so it's time to move on."

Elsewhere in the submission, the VFI outline its support for the retention of the hospitality sector's 9% VAT rate. It partially credits the lower rate with the creation of 45,000 jobs in the sector since its introduction five years ago, with Cribben adding:

"Over 32,000 of those are outside of the Dublin area. There's still a lot of challenges outside of Dublin in rural towns and in some of the cities as well."

The VAT rate has come in for some criticism of late. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions called for its abolition this week, arguing that it had "done nothing for workers in the sector, which is still characterised by low pay and precarious work".

It also emerged that corporate caterers for the likes of Apple and Facebook were availing of the special rate – introduced to stimulate activity in Ireland's tourism industry – while a number of companies that actually deliver tourism services such as cycling tours and boat and caravan hire can't avail of it.