Minimum pricing not the panacea some suggest - Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has raised concerns with the Government’s measures aimed at alcohol misuse. While he welcomed many of the elements he was concerned with the measures relating to minimum pricing and was concerned that drinks companies will benefit to the detriment of low income earners who would be disproportionately affected.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
“We have concerns with the minimum pricing plan. The Minister’s announcement is not the panacea some suggest. The drinks companies complaints, if there are any, will be but a whimper. We would have raised the excise duty on alcohol and ring fenced the resulting additional tax take. We would have used those additional funds to address the problems of alcohol abuse. We are concerned that low income earners who drink alcohol products responsibly will be disproportionately affected. Alcohol abuse and its sad consequences affect people across the board. The Government have failed to focus on how we might help those who misuse alcohol and those close to them.
“We have consistently argued that if the Government feel that pricing is an instrument that should be used to reduce consumption then they should increase the excise duty on alcohol and ring fence any extra revenue generated for alcohol abuse prevention, education and treatment measures.
“We are also supportive of ending the practise of below cost selling and banning the advertising of such.” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.