I just put a submission in to a consultation the EU was running on excise duty. They're looking at the various rules and structures that exist at EU level.
We strongly support the continuation of reduced excise duty for small producers and note the highly positive effect this has had for consumers since it was introduced in Ireland in 2005.
We believe there is scope for making duty rates fairer between different kinds of drinks, noting that wine can be zero-rated but beer cannot. There is no rational reason for such a distinction. Member states should have a greater freedom to set their own excise duty rates.
We are unconvinced that excise duty rates can be leveraged as a public health measure and can see no indication that increasing prices and/or restricting availability has a direct effect on alcohol consumption. Doing so presents an easy political strategy to governments, has a negative effect on all consumers but has not been shown to have any unambiguous positive public health outcome. The health issues around alcohol should be addressed separately from duty and taxation.