Written Answers. - Drinks Prices Order.

Thomas P. Broughan


50 Mr. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she has yet completed her consideration of whether a new drink prices control order should be introduced in view of reports of substantial price increases by some publicans; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7098/01]

The Drinks Prices Order was only one element of an overall package of measures approved by the Government last June to address the inflationary pressures on the economy. When announcing the anti-inflationary package, the Government made it clear that it was only pending the impact of a significant increase in competition in the licensed trade that the circumstances justified the imposition of temporary price controls. The statutory control on the price of drink was clearly understood to be an interim measure.

It is acknowledged that many publicans have acted in a reasonable manner following the expiry of the drinks order. It is also clear that some publicans took the opportunity of the lifting of the order to impose excessive price increases. The indications are that the proportion of pubs increasing their prices and the level of increases being imposed are higher in Dublin that the rest of the country. I firmly believe that competition provides the most effective means of keeping prices down. These factors are being examined carefully in consideration of whether or not a new drinks prices order should be introduced.