Retail Ireland Attacks Proposed Packaging Levy Plans

Retail Ireland has launched an attack on proposed plans to introduce a packaging levy by the government. The group that represents Irish retailers said it would only serve to penalise customer, help to increase cross border shopping and give double taxation to retailers.

Ambitious targets for Ireland under the EU Packaging Directive are already being met by the business sector, including retailers, it said.

Retail Ireland director Torlach Denihan said: “While we support the objective of reducing packaging waste, there is no evidence to show that a packaging levy will achieve this. Irish retailers already pay millions of euros to REPAK, the industry-funded packaging waste recycling scheme. International precedent shows that countries with such schemes do not have packaging levies.

“A levy on top of REPAK fees is double taxation. The 2009 International Review of Waste Management Policy concluded that levies on disposable materials should not be imposed unless packaging reduction targets were not met. Ireland exceeded those targets in 2001 and 2005. We hit the 2011 target of 60pc recovery rate two years early in 2009. This levy is simply not necessary.”

Mr. Denihan went on to say that “Irish retailers are competing with shops across the border which have lower rents, rates and overheads. Any additional costs will cause disproportionate effects with the possibility of cross-border shopping re-emerging. At its peak in 2009, cross-border shopping cost the Exchequer more than E400 million in lost VAT, excise and PAYE/PRSI. Government should carry out a regulatory impact assessment that includes a cost benefit model of the proposed levy and a justification of its necessity, effectiveness, proportionality and consistency with national and EU policy.”

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