The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) today called on the Government to back a key UK industry in the forthcoming Budget. The industry's submission to the Treasury highlights that Scotch Whisky:
ï‚· Faces discrimination in the excise duty system so that consumers pay up to 250% more tax for choosing Scotch Whisky than other drinks
ï‚· An anticipated 6.6% duty rise will adversely affect distillers who have already been hit by duty increases of over 20% since 2008, while delivering little added Government revenue
ï‚· Remains one of the UK's top exports, accounting for almost 25% of all UK food & drink exports and earning £99 every second for the balance of trade
ï‚· Has faced a 100% increase in cereal prices and 30% increase in energy prices, impacting local producers, including many small businesses
The SWA is calling for a freeze on spirits duty in next week's Budget (23 March) as a first step to introducing a fairer and more responsible system of alcohol taxation.
Gavin Hewitt, SWA Chief Executive, said:
"Scotch Whisky can only be made in Scotland and makes a unique contribution to the economy, particularly in fragile urban and rural communities. A projected 6.6% tax rise on top of recent VAT and excise duty increases will further penalise both the industry and consumers.
"This is unfair to a key sector of British manufacturing, and for the millions of people who enjoy Scotch Whisky every year.
"The Government has consistently said it will do whatever it can to assist the industry at home and abroad. We welcome this support and ask the Government to make good its promise in the home market, with a freeze on duty levels for Scotch Whisky in next week's Budget."