Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 59 - Liquor licensing laws. [10057/14]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 59 - Liquor licensing laws. [10057/14]. (27 Feb 2014)

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59. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider linking the licence fee paid by large off-licences to their annual turnover; his views that supermarket giants could afford to pay more than they are currently paying in view of the huge sales that they are making; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10057/14]


Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Under the existing arrangements, separate retailers' off-licences require a licence for each type of alcohol they sell for each premises. Excise duty on off-licences is currently set at €500 each per licence for a beer, wine or spirits off-licence. This means that a typical off-licence premises offering the full range of alcoholic beverages for sale pays €1,500 per annum.


Licensed premises have a graduated licence duty fee structure based on turnover, with a total of six bands ranging from €250 to €3,805.  The Deputy seems to be suggesting that a similar turnover basis for calculating the duty for on-licences should be applied to large off-licences. While I am not unfavourably disposed to such a suggestion, I believe a number of issues need to be taken into consideration.  Any change to the arrangements in place for large supermarkets would also have to be applied to smaller outlets such as the off-licence on the corner. The licence regime for pubs is based on the entire turnover of the business including snacks, meals, tobacco and entertainment.  On the face of it, it would seem unreasonable to apply the same turnover definition to a supermarket whose core business is groceries and household goods but sells alcohol as an added service.  It should also be noted that, under the current arrangements, 75% of pubs fall within the two lowest bands and pay €505 or less, as against the €1,500 currently payable by the off-trade.


Notwithstanding the above, and in the context of the Report of the Steering Group on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, I have asked my officials to examine the proposal in the context of this year's Finance Bill.

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