14 December 2023
Michael McGrath TD
Minister for Finance
Dear Minister McGrath
On behalf of the Irish Petrol Retailers Association [IPRA] we are writing to you today to request the immediate suspension of the planned increase in excise on motor fuel scheduled under Budget 2024 for both 1st April and 1st August 2024. We urgently and respectfully seek a meeting with Minister McGrath TD on behalf of our members as soon as possible.
We represent independent service stations nationwide and we are particularly worried about the implications of the proposed duty increases on the 31st of March 2024 of 8cpl on unleaded and 6cpl on diesel. On top of these proposed increases, the biofuel obligation scheme will add another 2c incl VAT to both diesel and unleaded from 1st of January 2024. This is not being reciprocated in the UK.
By August 2024 there will be a further c.10cpl added to a litre of fuel in comparison to the UK/NI prices. Presently, border sites are already 12cpl more expensive than sites in Enniskillen and Omagh.
If the proposed excise increases go ahead in 2024, it will mean border stations will be c.22cpl more expensive than Northern Ireland on unleaded fuel and c.10cpl more expensive for diesel. This will lead to fuel tourism along the border sites. One of our members has already indicated that if this does go ahead, he will most likely have to make full scale redundancies of 20+ employees and relocate their business to their Northern Ireland site.
This is not sustainable and by the time the second scheduled increase comes into force on 1st August 2024 stations will be forced to start shutting their doors. This will lead to more unemployment in border counties and has a knock-on effect of other local businesses closing as fuel tourists will be spending their money elsewhere and jobs will have disappeared in local towns. It needs to be stopped now.
We have been contacted by many of our members who will be affected by these excise increases, many are already struggling to keep their doors open with increased cost of doing business (commercial rates increases, minimum wage increases, insurance, lower sales from cost-of-living crisis and so on).
Businesses operating close to the border will be decimated if these increases are not stopped. There are many votes to be gained by helping our member stations now BEFORE it is too late.
Please confirm receipt of this letter and note we are available to discuss the above in more detail with Minister McGrath at any time, even remotely if that suits.
We look forward to hearing from the Minister and would like to express our sincere gratitude for all support and assistance on this matter in advance. We will ensure every one of our member stations are aware of the support we receive on this issue and if Minister McGrath wishes we could include an interview with him on this issue in the March edition of our magazine Forecourt and Retail News which goes in both hard and soft copy to every station owner and senior management in all of the major oil companies across the country.
Irish Petrol Retailers Association