Dáil Éireann - Volume 407 - 30 April, 1991
Written Answers. - Soft Drinks Taxation.
Mr. Bell Mr. Bell
77. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether, having regard to the level of taxation on soft drinks, it would be in the public interest to reduce this level in view of the level of alcoholism among young people.
Minister for Finance (Mr. A. Reynolds) Albert Reynolds
Minister for Finance (Mr. A. Reynolds): Soft drinks are among the wide range of consumer goods and services which have benefited from the reduction of 2 percentage points in the standard VAT rate implemented in each of the last two budgets. In addition, the rate of excise duty on table waters was cut by 20 per cent in the 1990 budget. It now stands at 29p a gallon or 3.625p a pint as compared with excise duty of 37.6p on a pint of beer of average alcoholic strength. When account is then taken of VAT, the tax-based differential amounts to 41p per pint. I consider that this favourable tax treatment should facilitate the charging of substantially lower prices for table waters by publicans.
I would like to add that my colleagues, the Ministers for Health and Justice, are also concerned about the issue of alcoholism among young people. The Deputy is probably aware that the Minister for Health set out details of the steps being taken to deal with the problem very recently in the House Official Report 26 February 1991, Cols. 1528—1531 refers. The Minister for Justice would have me point out that the Intoxicating Liquor  Act, 1988, introduced a wide range of controls within which the problem of under-age drinking is being tackled. In this regard I would refer the Deputy to that Minister's reply to recent questions in the House, Official Report 6 March 1991, cols. 83-87.
Dáil Éireann 407 Written Answers. Soft Drinks Taxation.