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Home BUSINESSNo tax hike on alcohol in budget likely
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Sun, 04 Aug, 2013 12:12:32 AM
FTimes-STT Report, August 4
Passengers were seen to arrive in Helsinki Port West terminal with alcohol from Estonia. Photo - Lehtikuva.
The government is likely not to increase tax on alcohol in the upcoming budget for the year 2014 as the tax hike might increase the import of the alcoholic products from the neighbouring countries of Russia and Estonia by the travellers.
Although the leaders of the ruling parties believed that increase of tax on alcohol could be a good way of getting more money by the government, they feared it might put a negative impact on the local market, parties sources said.
They also said that the imported alcohol from Russia and Estonia might create health problems among the alcohol consumers, said sources.
“The taxes limit on alcohol reached such a stage that we are not willing to increase tax this time,” said National Coalition Party’s parliamentary group chairman Petteri Orpo.
He, however, said that the tax on alcohol would be increased next time as the government already set a target to earn EUR 125 million from alcohol tax next year.
Earlier, the coalition government on March 21 announced the budget planning in the parliament for the next fiscal aiming to adjust an amount of EUR 600 million.
Although the leaders of the ruling parties termed the budget as a financial solution and said that it would help boom the job market, the lawmakers of the opposition criticized the budget for cutting expenditure.
Government sources said that the final budget proposals would be presented in the parliament at the end of this month and will be approved in December after holding discussions throughout the month of September.
Earlier, the Health and Social Services Minister, Susanna Huovinen speaking at the global health conference held in Helsinki on June 10 to June 14  said that the authorities have successfully been able to bring down alcohol consumption in the country by 10 per cent in recent years to reduce harms caused by it.
The minister said they have been able to reduce the use of alcohol through the cooperation of different branches of administration and increase tax on alcohol.
 "The social, economic, and environment-related causes of many diseases often go hand-in-hand with the ageing population, fast urbanisation and unhealthy lifestyles.
They are often outside the sphere of influence of the social and health sector. 'Health in all policies' thinking increases the responsibility of decision-makers on the health effects at all levels of decision-making", Minister Huovinen added.
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