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 Header Item Allocation of Time: Motion
 Header Item Financial Resolutions 2020
 Header Item Financial Resolutions 2020: Motion

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 999 No. 2

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Allocation of Time: Motion

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers I move:

That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the financial motions by the Minister for Finance shall be moved, and where indicated grouped for the purpose of debate in accordance with the following schedule, and in the case of each resolution the proceedings thereon and any amendments thereto shall be brought to a conclusion by one question, which shall be put from the Chair not later than the times indicated as follows, provided that where the time slot for a resolution is not used, the unused time may be carried forward into the slot for the next resolution: Resolution No. 1 to conclude after 15 minutes; Resolution No. 2 to conclude after 30 minutes; Resolution No. 3 to conclude after 15 minutes; and Resolutions Nos. 4, 5 and 6 to conclude after 50 minutes.

  Question put and agreed to.

Financial Resolutions 2020

Financial Resolutions 2020: Motion

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I move:

    (1) THAT for the purposes of the tax charged by virtue of section 72 of the Finance Act 2005 (No. 5 of 2005), that Act be amended, with effect as on and from 14 October 2020, by substituting the following for Schedule 2 to that Act (as amended by section 39 of the Finance Act 2019 (No. 45 of 2019)):

Rates of tobacco products tax

(With effect as on and from 14 October 2020)
Description of Product
Rate of Tax
Cigarettes …. .... .... …. …. …. …. …. Rate of tax at—(a) except where paragraph (b) applies, €356.39 per thousand together with an amount equal to 10.06 per cent of the price at which the cigarettes are sold by retail, or

(b) €414.24 per thousand in respect of cigarettes sold by retail where the rate of tax would be less than that rate had the rate been calculated in accordance with paragraph (a).
Cigars .... .... .... …. …. …. …. …. Rate of tax at €414.861 per kilogram.
Fine-cut tobacco for the rolling of cigarettes .... Rate of tax at €399.120 per kilogram.
Other smoking tobacco .... …. …. …. …. Rate of tax at €287.812 per kilogram.
    (2) 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).
Financial Resolution No. 1 provides for excise duty increases on tobacco products with effect from midnight tonight. The increase amounts to 50 cent, inclusive of VAT, on a packet of 20 cigarettes in the most popular price category, together with pro rata increases for other tobacco products. The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes in the most popular price category, assuming the full increase is passed through to the final retail price, will increase to €14. The excise duty component of this price will be €8.54 and the total tax, inclusive of VAT, will be €10.97, which represents 78.33% of the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes. The pro rata increase on the price of a typical pouch of rolling tobacco will increase by 70 cents to €19.40. The minimum excise duty rate on cigarettes is also increasing so that any pack of 20 that is priced below €11.50 will be subject to excise as if it was priced at €11.50.

  Ireland is committed to a policy of high taxation on tobacco to encourage people to quit smoking, particularly younger people. The policy is working. In 2007, 29% of our people were daily smokers. By contrast, the Healthy Ireland Survey figures for 2019 show that the figure has fallen to 14%. Increasing tobacco products taxation is a key public health policy measure to continue this downward trend in smoking rates in Ireland and help us achieve a tobacco-free Ireland by 2025. In terms of revenue raising, the increase in tobacco products tax and the minimum excise duty is estimated to contribute €57 million in a full year.

Deputy Duncan Smith: Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith The Labour Party will not be opposing this resolution. At what point is the benefit of the revenue raised by duties on tobacco outweighed by the increase in counterfeit tobacco, with effects on public health, criminality and all the rest? Is that discussion taking place within any Departments? We probably need to start thinking about that when it comes to this particular old reliable.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett I will be brief. We oppose this. Smoking is a major public health problem. It kills large numbers of people and as a society we should do everything we can to discourage people from smoking, encourage them to break the addiction and get young people not to take up the habit in the first place. Nonetheless, a lot of people smoke and there are many reasons they do, such as stress. Advertising does not have as much impact as it used to, but a lot of people acquired this addiction when advertising was still around. I do not think people should be punished for an addiction through what is essentially a further regressive charge that disproportionately hits lower income families. We have traditionally opposed this and we will again. I will not go to the trouble of calling a vote, but we will indicate our opposition to the motion when it goes through.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I would like to amplify Deputy Smith's question. It is now almost a pro forma measure to add 50 cent or €1 to the price of cigarettes every year. Nobody objects to it because there is a compelling health issue, but smuggling is a real concern now. This does not just mean criminality. We do not know the contents of illegal cigarettes, which are extensively sold in housing estates throughout the country. There is a lot of interdiction of cigarettes but this is a really worrying issue. We need a much clearer messaging system to reach the 14% of our people who are heavy smokers and the cohort of occasional smokers who may be added to that. We are down to a core of people who need to be reached and helped by supplying free therapy, medication or whatever is needed to finally break that addiction. My colleague, Deputy Smith, is right. There has to be some limit to simply using pricing as a weapon. Education is important and we have very good education systems, but we are not reaching that final cohort. I am interested in hearing what the Minister is going to do about it.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I thank the Deputies. I will address Deputies Smith and Howlin at the same time as their questions had a similar message. Deputy Boyd Barrett also raises a similar point. I can provide figures on the illicit trade, but let us put it aside for a second. I was asked if there are other ways to reach people and whether this affects lower income households disproportionately.

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