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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 14 - Tax yield (alcohol) [27696/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 14 - Tax yield (alcohol) [27696/15]. (09 Jul 2015)

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14. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health of the €2.2 billion raised in tax revenue, both product tax and value added tax, through the sale of alcohol; and his views that a percentage of this revenue should be directed towards treatment, prevention and education. [27696/15]


Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar):  I have consulted with my colleague the Minister of Finance on this matter and he has advised me that he is generally not in favour of the hypothecation of tax revenue, as it reduces the flexibility of the Government to prioritise and allocate funds as necessary at a particular time.


He further advised that taxation and expenditure decisions should be driven by their overall effectiveness in line with sound and sustainable budgetary principles. Accordingly, ring-fencing revenues may constrain expenditure decisions and can distort the allocation of resources resulting in reduced value for money.


However, the affordability of alcohol to the average consumer is an important component in tackling alcohol abuse and, the price of alcohol is directly linked to consumption levels and levels of alcohol related harms and costs.


Despite Ireland having relatively high excise duty rates, the price of alcohol remains relatively affordable. This Government is committed to taking meaningful measures to reduce the level of harmful consumption of alcohol in Ireland and the harm associated with the misuse of alcohol through the forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The aim of this legislation is to reduce alcohol consumption and the harms caused by alcohol. The Bill will provide for minimum unit pricing for alcohol products and other measures.


Minimum unit pricing is a key part of our strategy to deal with alcohol misuse. It sets a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks below which alcohol cannot be sold. Under Minimum Unit Pricing, alcohol which is cheap relative to its strength will increase in price. The minimum price is determined by and is directly proportional to the amount of pure alcohol in the drink. Minimum Unit Pricing is aimed at those who are higher risk, such as adolescents and people who have a harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption pattern.


In addition, Section 16 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act provides for the making of regulations which may prohibit or restrict advertising, promoting, selling or supplying of alcohol at reduced prices or free of charge in order to reduce the risk of a threat to public order and health risks from the misuse of alcohol.

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