A number of opposition TDs have questioned the government’s decision to introduce a further 50 cent increase on the price of a packet of cigarettes in last week’s Budget, with PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett describing the move as “ a tax on the poor.”
In a Dáil debate, Boyd Barrett said that the measure “will make no difference to or impact one way or another on the predilection to smoke, and it will not for most people, but it will have an impact on their income.”
Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins echoed his views, describing the increase as an “annual hypocrisy by the parties in power”.
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Higgins cited a 2013 Budget debate in which Minister Noonan stated that the possible outcome of further increases in tobacco excise is that ‘what appears to be a reduction in consumption is simply a transfer of consumption to smuggled cigarettes’.
“Nevertheless, we are here again under the guise of saying with certainty that this increase will reduce consumption, which is not the case,” Higgins added.
In addition, Independent TD Finian McGrath said that he opposed the measure because it is “picking on an easy target. It is claimed it will raise €61 million but in reality it is losing up to €1 billion.” McGrath noted that criminal gangs have turned away from drugs to tobacco, and are “making major money”.
Last Friday, the government announced that it has commenced a public consultation on the transposition of the European Tobacco Products Directive, which is due for introduction in May 2016.
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones