Scotch Whisky Association urge the government to reduce current tax of 77% on an average priced bottle of Scotch.
As Scotland and many whisky drinkers around the
world raise a glass to Scotland's bard Rabbie Burns
tonight the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has called
for a 2% spirits excise duty cut to boost the Scotch
whisky industry, an industry that creates £5
billion annually for the economy, supports more than
40,000 jobs and is the largest net contributor to
the UK's balance of trade in goods, according to new
As millions around the globe prepare to raise a dram
to celebrate Burns' Night, research published today
- 'The Economic Impact of Scotch Whisky Production
in the UK' - reveals that without Scotland's
national drink the UK's trade deficit in goods of
£115 billion would be 3% larger. The SWA says that
the Government's support of the industry in recent
years has led to a boost in revenue for the Treasury
and supported a wave of new distillery openings - 14
in the past three years.
But tax remains too high at 77% of the price of an
average bottle of Scotch and the SWA is calling for
Today's research explains that exports of Scotch
Whisky are worth around £4 billion each year, while
imports in the supply chain, such as packaging for
products and casks for maturing spirit, total only
£200 million. The Scotch industry's trade balance is
The SWA says the research reinforces Scotch Whisky's
position as a strategically important industry for
the UK in terms of value it adds to the economy,
jobs supported, investment and export performance,
and should be supported by government.
The publication of the research on Burns' Night -
the anniversary of the Bard's birthday - comes as
the SWA calls on the UK Government to 'Stand up for
Scotch' in the Budget on 8 March to encourage
further investment and job creation.
The onerous 77% tax on an average priced bottle of
Scotch exists despite a freeze in excise in last
year's Budget, a 2% cut the previous year and the
scrapping of the alcohol duty escalator - which
annually increased excise by inflation plus 2% - in
2014. The SWA wants the UK Government to 'pursue a
'Fair Tax for Whisky'.
As well as boosting the Scotch Whisky industry, the
government's changes to excise in the last few years
have benefited the public purse. In the 12 months to
the end of October this year, the Treasury secured
around an additional £100m from spirits duty -
including the tax consumers pay on a bottle of
Scotch Whisky**. But the industry says it still
deserves fairer tax treatment.
'The Economic Impact of Scotch Whisky Production in
the UK' outlines the true contribution of Scotch
Whisky to the economy and shows why the industry
deserves recognition from government.
Findings from the research include:
- Scotch Whisky adds almost £5bn
(£4.9bn) to the UK economy;
- Some 40,200 jobs are supported
by the industry across the UK. This
includes more than 10,500 people
directly employed in Scotland.
Almost £1.3bn is paid in salaries in
- Scotch is a significant
contributor to rural employment,
supporting often fragile local
economies. The industry supports
7,000 rural jobs. The Scotch Whisky
industry is expanding at historic
levels. As well as the 14 new
distilleries opened since 2013,
existing sites have been expanded,
for example with increased
production, more warehouses or
revamped visitor centres. Up to a
further 40 new distilleries are
planned across Scotland, with seven
expected to open this year alone.
But the SWA says the uncertainty
created by Brexit means that the
industry needs more reassurance that it
will receive fair treatment from
Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky
Association acting chief executive,
said: "Scotch Whisky is one of the UK's
most strategically important industries.
Without valuable Scotch exports of
around £4 billion a year, the UK's trade
deficit in goods would be 3% larger. And
our research published today emphasises
the value of the industry which adds
£5bn to the economy annually and
supports more than 40,000 jobs. Burns'
Night is the perfect time to raise a
dram to the success of Scotch.
"But we are calling on the government to
'Stand up for Scotch' by addressing the
high and unfair level of taxation
distillers face in their home market.
The current tax of 77% on an average
priced bottle of Scotch is a burden on
consumers and the industry. And the
Government's own figures indicate that
fairer tax treatment leads to increased
revenue for the public purse. We are
calling on the UK Government to cut
excise by 2% in next month's Budget,
supporting a great Scottish and British
industry at a time of uncertainty,
giving us a stronger domestic platform
from which to invest and grow to make a
success of Brexit."