Dáil Éireann - Volume 326 - 28 January, 1981

Financial Resolutions, 1981: Financial Resolution No. 1: Excise — Tobacco Products.

Minister for Finance (Mr. G. Fitzgerald): I move:

(1) That in this Resolution “cigarettes”,“cigars”,“cavendish or negrohead”,“hard pressed tobacco”,“other pipe tobacco”,“smoking tobacco”, “chewing tobacco” and “tobacco products” have the same meanings as they have in the Finance (Excise Duty on Tobacco Products) Act, 1977 (No. 32 of 1977), as amended by the Imposition of Duties (No.243) (Excise Duty on Tobacco Products) Order, 1979 (S. I. No. 296 of 1979).

(2) That the duty of excise on tobacco products imposed by section 2 of the Finance (Excise Duty on Tobacco Products) Act, 1977, shall be charged, levied and paid, as on and from the 29th day of January, 1981, at the several rates specified in the Schedule to this Resolution in lieu of the several rates specified in the Third Schedule to the Finance Act, 1980 (No. 14 of 1980).

(3) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).

SCHEDULE.

RATES OF EXCISE DUTY ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS.

Description of Product

Rate of Duty

Cigarettes

£15.30 per thousand together with an amount equal to 22.4 per cent. of the price at which the cigarettes are sold by retail.

Cigars

£28.614 per kilogram

Cavendish or negrohead

£28.915 per kilogram

Hard pressed tobacco

£18.492 per kilogram

Other pipe tobacco

£23.244 per kilogram

Other smoking or chewing tobacco

£24.146 per kilogram

[475] Mr. M.P. Murphy: In relation to this resolution I should like to state that I asked the Minister recently the present level of taxation, excise duty and VAT, on cigarettes and tobacco products. Under this resolution the Minister seeks to extract an additional £23 million from smokers and he has told them that if they do not like paying it they need not smoke. The public should be told the existing rate of tax on cigarettes and tobacco, pressed and unpressed. Has the Minister those figures in his brief? I did not get a reply to my question although the Department may have been aware that the complete figures will be available after midnight tonight. I wonder if the Minister would be kind enough to let me have the present rate, including excise and VAT and any other hidden tax such as the VAT paid by shopkeepers. There are two types of VAT, the first-day payment and sales-day payment, so the Minister has to be watchful. I would like to know what the total is.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: I will try to answer the Deputy's question. He made reference to not getting a reply to a question. I apologise.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: I pass by that.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: I am not aware that there is any problem in that respect.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Possibly the Minister is too busy.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: As one Corkman to another let me say that, if the Deputy wants to repeat the question, he may please do so and let me know the position. He asked about the duty on 20 of the most popular priced variety of cigarettes. On that the post-budget situation is that the total duty is 55.9p made up of 48.6p on duty and 7.3p on VAT. Regarding pipe tobacco I am probably the more expert on cigarettes and he on tobacco, or on the smoking of it. On plug tobacco the post-budget situation is 52.4p duty and 8.5p VAT making a total of 60.9p. On flake tobacco the post-budget situation is 65.9p duty and 10.2p VAT and the total there is 76.1.

[476] Mr. M.P. Murphy: What is the total again for the 20 cigarettes — 55.9p and what is the VAT content?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Total 55.9p and VAT content 7.3p.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: I would like to thank the Minister for the courtesy of replying and giving me information which I sought. It is no harm to put out to the smoking public their contribution to the State and it may be more helpful than the many admonitions they have got from specialists — for together we are specialists — doctors of all kinds and many others on the harmfulness of smoking.

Mr. L'Estrange: The Minister for Finance is the best doctor they get.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: I was about to congratulate our fellow Corkman on this prescription which he has given to smokers today. In any case, aside from what our specialists and others tell us, smoking is a tradition of the Irish people and I am sure will not disappear overnight. I maintained here 12 months ago, when a somewhat similar Financial Resolution was before the House, that the smoking public were asked to bear an undue proportion of taxation and I think that what I said last year can be reiterated with more emphasis this year. On 20 cigarettes we have 56p all but .1p. On flake tobacco you have 76.1p. I maintain here that this is an unfair burden. Why ask the smoking public, who are already contributing hansomely to the Exchequer, to bear a further £23 million? I believe I am quite justified in standing up and making such a statement because, whatever the specialists may say about smoking, many people find it relaxing. Some of our friends will be digesting this budget and the increase on tobacco, cigarettes, beer, 15p on petrol and so on and the limited adjustments made in other sectors such as PAYE. I think that they should have a smoke if they like because they will be inclined to after digesting what is in the budget. In any case I object strongly to Financial Resolution No. 1. It is unfair [477] and unjust to ask the smoking public who, as I have said, are already heavily burdened, to contribute a further £23 [478] million to the Exchequer cost of running this country.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 77; Níl, 51.

Ahern, Bertie.

Ahern, Kit.

Allen, Lorcan.

Andrews, David.

Andrews, Niall.

Aylward, Liam.

Barrett, Sylvester.

Brady, Gerard.

Brady, Vincent.

Briscoe, Ben.

Browne, Seán.

Burke, Raphael P.

Callanan, John.

Calleary, Seán.

Cogan, Barry.

Colley, George.

Collins, Gerard.

Conaghan, Hugh.

Connolly, Gerard.

Coughlan, Clement.

Cowen, Bernard.

Crinion, Brendan.

Cronin, Jerry.

Daly, Brendan.

de Valera, Síle.

de Valera, Vivion.

Doherty, Seán.

Fahey, Jackie.

Farrell, Joe.

Filgate, Eddie.

Fitzgerald, Gene.

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin South-Central).

Fitzsimons, James N.

Fox, Christopher J.

French, Seán.

Gallagher, Dennis.

Gallagher, James.

Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.

Gibbons, Jim.

Haughey, Charles J.

Herbert, Michael.

Hussey, Thomas.

Keegan, Seán.

Kenneally, William.

Killeen, Tim.

Killilea, Mark.

Lalor, Patrick J.

Lemass, Eileen.

Lenihan, Brian.

Leonard, Tom.

Leyden, Terry.

Loughnane, William.

Lynch, Jack.

McCreevy, Charlie.

McEllistrim, Thomas.

McSharry, Ray.

Meaney, Tom.

Molloy, Robert.

Moore, Seán.

Morley, P. J.

Murphy, Ciarán P.

Nolan, Tom.

Noonan, Michael.

O'Connor, Timothy C.

O'Donoghue, Martin.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

O'Leary, John.

O'Malley, Desmond.

Power, Paddy.

Reynolds, Albert.

Smith, Michael.

Tunney, Jim.

Walsh, Joe.

Walsh, Seán.

Wilson, John P.

Woods, Michael J.

Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

Barry, Myra.

Barry, Peter.

Begley, Michael.

Belton, Luke.

Bermingham, Joseph.

Bruton, John.

Burke, Joan.

Burke, Liam.

Byrne, Hugh.

Collins, Edward.

Corish, Brendan.

Cosgrave, Liam.

Cosgrave, Michael J.

Creed, Donal.

[479]Kavanagh, Liam.

Keating, Michael.

Kelly, John.

Kenny, Enda.

L'Estrange, Gerry.

Lipper, Mick.

Mannion, John M.

Mitchell, Jim.

Murphy, Michael P.

O'Brien, Fergus.

O'Brien, William.

O'Donnell, Tom.

Crotty, Kieran.

D'Arcy, Michael J.

Deasy, Martin A.

Desmond, Barry.

Desmond, Eileen.

Donnellan, John F.

Enright, Thomas W.

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan-Monaghan).

Gilhawley, Eugene.

Griffin, Brendan.

Harte, Patrick D.

Hegarty, Paddy.

Horgan, John.

[480]O'Keeffe, Jim.

O'Leary, Michael.

O'Toole, Paddy.

Pattison, Séamus.

Quinn, Ruairi.

Ryan, John J.

Ryan, Richie.

Spring, Dan.

Taylor, Frank.

Timmins, Godfrey.

Treacy, Seán.

Tully, James.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Moore and Briscoe; Níl, Deputies L'Estrange and B. Desmond.

Question declared carried.