VFI call for Minimum Unit Pricing ahead of General Election

As part of its manifesto for the upcoming general election, the Vintners Federation of Ireland is calling for the immediate introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing along with a reduction in excise duty and the hospitality VAT rate.

Speaking at the launch of the Federation’s manifesto, VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben stated: “On Saturday 8th February, the country will go to the polls to decide the composition of the next Dáil. As publicans, the election campaign is an opportunity to make our collective voice heard about the issues impacting our trade.

“As a Federation of almost 4,000 members we should not underestimate the power of each individual publican engaging with candidates about these issues. While numerous issues impact the pub sector, we have identified six areas are of key concern requiring immediate and measurable action.”

The six key issues are:

Introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing – We need a level playing pitch as we can’t compete with supermarkets selling cheap alcohol. During Christmas, some outlets were selling two trays of lager for €35 (€17.50 per tray). The introduction of MUP would mean a tray of lager would cost €41.

Insurance Reform – The cost of insurance and associated compensation pay-outs is forcing small businesses to close. We need politicians to take necessary steps to introduce dynamic insurance reform and cut unfair personal injury awards.

Promote rural transport initiatives – support rural publicans who wish to introduce transport schemes to get locals to and from the pub. Grants for insurance and maintenance costs would signify a commitment by government to rural Ireland.

Reduce Excise Duty – Ireland has the second highest rate of alcohol excise duty in Europe, which inhibits growth in the hospitality sector, leads to increased costs and harms our competitiveness with foreign tourist markets.

Reduce hospitality VAT rate – Last year’s VAT increase to 13.5% has led to closures and staff redundancies. It’s critical the 9% VAT rate is reintroduced to stimulate growth and protect jobs in the hospitality sector – the largest employer in Ireland.

Balanced regional development – Investment in the capital city has created a two-tier economy that favours Dublin. We need a coherent plan for sustainable regional economic development that will encourage population growth outside the main cities.

Mr Cribben added: “The pub plays a vital role at the heart of local communities. It’s imperative candidates acknowledge this fact and voice their support for these local businesses.”