Thursday, 11 December 1980
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Enright: asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, if he is aware that the cost of magazines, books and periodicals imported into Ireland from Britain is approximately 50 per cent higher here than in Britain; if he considers that this extra cost is excessive in view  of the fact that there is a 10 per cent VAT charge and that even allowing for the rate of exchange between the IR£ and sterling this margin is far too high; if he has had this matter investigated; if so, if he will outline the results of his investigations; and the action, if any, he proposes to alleviate the problem.
Mr. Meaney: I am aware that the price of magazines, books and periodicals imported into Ireland from Britain is higher here than in Britain, because of the appreciation in value of sterling and the 10 per cent VAT on such products.
A rate of surcharge, which is adjusted each month, is imposed in agreement with the National Prices Commission. The rapid appreciation of sterling has necessitated an addition to the amount of surcharge warranted by current exchange rates in order to recoup losses already incurred by importers on the operation of the surcharge. The National Prices Commission are carrying out a detailed examination into the present system of levying the surcharge and I am expecting their report on the matter shortly.
Mr. Meaney: I am expecting the report in the very near future. I should like to add that the 50 per cent to which the Deputy referred in his question is not factual; it is much nearer 21 per cent. The Deputy has compared the price in sterling with that in Irish pounds. That is why the question is inaccurate.
Mr. O'Toole: Do I take it that the investigation was commenced when this question was put down? Would that not be a more factual admission on the part of the Minister? Can the Minister give  me a date?
Mr. Keating: In view of the fact that the Minister indicated that the National Prices Commission monthly report agrees with the imposition of a surcharge to take account of the difference between sterling and the IR£, do I take it that the  surcharge manages now and again to reduce the price of such magazines? When, therefore, did the last reduction happen to take account of the fluctuation in the value of the IR£?
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