Whisky Focus - UK Scotch Whisky Sales Fall After Duty Increase

UK Scotch Whisky Sales Fall After Duty Increase

12th October 2017
Support the Scotch Whisky Associations campaign for a drop in Whisky Duty, express you support on Twitter #dropthedramduty

Support the Scotch Whisky Associations #dropthedramduty campaign

Following Chancellor Philip Hammond's hike in the spirits tax in this years March budget it will come as no surprise to those of you with a bit of common sense that a fall in Scotch whisky sales followed but what is surprising, in fact quite shocking, is just how much sales have fallen since Philip Hammond's hike in tax.

Official HMRC figures show 36.7 million bottles were released for sale in the first six months of 2017 - which is 1 million bottles down from the 37.7 million bottles released in the same period last year.

The 2.6% fall follows the Chancellor's decision to increase spirits duty in the spring Budget by an inflation-busting 3.9%, meaning tax now makes up an astonishing 80% of the cost of a bottle of Scotch. Of an average bottle sold at 12.77, more than 10 goes straight to the Treasury.

Following this huge drop in domestic demand here in the UK, the Scotch Whisky Association has launched a #dropthedramduty campaign urging Philip Hammond to cut excise duty on spirits to protect the UK's leading food and drink export which supports 40,000 jobs.

HMRC figures also show the tax take from spirits has actually fallen since Philip Hammond's spring increase - meaning less money for the Treasury. Spirits revenue was down more than 7% in the first financial quarter of 2017/18 to 697 million from 751m in the same period from April to the end of June the previous year.

In contrast, a 2% cut in 2015 saw spirits revenue rise by 4% - giving a 124 million boost to the Treasury. And a freeze in 2016 led to a revenue increase of more than 7%, pouring an additional 229 million into the Chancellor's coffers.

Surely the figures speak for themselves, Philp Hammond's spirit tax hike has clearly impacted sales and it would be a common sense business move for the UK for Philip Hammond to #dropthedramduty before he impacts the UK economy and jobs.

Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "Philip Hammond's damaging 3.9% spirits duty hike has hit UK demand for Scotch and seen less money going to the Treasury.

"The Chancellor should use his November Budget to Drop The Dram Duty and boost a great British success story.

"Cutting tax would send a strong signal that the Government believes in a world-famous UK manufacturing industry which supports 40,000 jobs and plays a key role in Scotland's economy."

Philip Hammond failing to reduce tax in the forthcoming November budget to remedy the negative impact he has had on whisky sales and the income for the treasury would be unacceptable and serious questions would have to be asked about his suitability to hold the position of Chancellor.

Show your support on twitter for #dropthedramduty and help encourage Philip Hammond to do the right thing. You will also find me @ScotMaltWhisky on Twitter  tweeting about all things WHISKY so why not give me a follow.

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