Irish Beverage Council urges government to defer soft drinks tax implementation
The Irish Beverage Council (Ibec) has urged Ireland's Government to delay the introduction of sugar-sweetened drink tax.
According to Ibec, the introduction of the tax could lead to cross-border shopping, uncertain all-island trade post-Brexit, and the increasing cost of the weekly shop through new consumer taxes.
Irish Beverage Council director Colm Jordan said: “With the euro in our pockets now buying more against the Sterling, Irish shoppers are increasingly heading North.
“The Minister for Finance must defer his plan for higher taxes on our weekly shop. We are forecasting that 11% of sugar sweetened drink sales will be lost to cross-border shopping and the unofficial grey market.
“That amounts to a €30m loss to our economy in a full operating year of the sugar tax. This must be seen in context; the soft drink tax will only raise €40m.”
Over the last 34 months, the Irish Department of Finance is reported to have changed their estimates on five separate occasions on how predicted tax will rise.
In April and July this year, the prediction is reported to have fallen by 53% and these variations indicate that there is uncertainty about how the tax will work.
Jordan further added: “We accept the government's sincerity in addressing the complex societal issue of obesity, and we are fully committed to playing our part. Soft drinks companies have been reducing sugar content for 30 years.
“We took ten billion calories out of the Irish diet each year between 2005 and 2012, through voluntary sugar reduction. We will go further and continue this investment in innovation, reducing sugar content while increasing our no sugar and low sugar offerings."