Whisky group calls for tax cut

• The Scotch whisky industry is worth almost £5bn to the UK economy.
• The Scotch whisky industry is worth almost £5bn to the UK economy.

New report claims ‘significant’ industry supports thousands of jobs

THE Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has renewed calls for a 2% cut in alcohol duty ahead of next month’s Budget.
The call coincides with the publication of a new report from the SWA, which claims the Scotch whisky industry contributes almost £5 billion to the UK economy.
Called ‘The Economic Impact of Scotch Whisky Production in the UK’, it says the industry supports “over 40,000 jobs”. Scotch whisky workers, it claims, “are among the most productive” in Scotland and are the “lifeblood of many rural communities” where whisky sustains 7400 jobs and generates £250m of income.
And for every £1 million generated, it claims another £520,000 is made in related areas such as packaging and haulage.
David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “This new report shows just how significant the Scotch whisky industry is to the wider UK economy, adding £5bn of value, supporting over 40,000 jobs, and contributing £4bn to Britain’s trade performance.”
The report claims Scotch whisky is bigger than the iron, steel, textiles, shipbuilding and computing industries. It is claimed to be larger than other UK food and drink sectors, including meat, dairy, beer and soft drinks.
In Scotland, the spirit is said to make up almost three quarters of the food and drink sector and is “three times the size” of the digital or life sciences industries.
Despite a slowdown in Scotch exports, which it says are now worth £4bn a year, the report claims investment continues with plans for around 30 new distilleries.
It says: “In more recent years industry employment has also begun to increase and in very recent years silent distilleries have been re-opened, existing ones have been expanded, and new ones are being planned and opened.”
The SWA teamed with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association in December to call for a 2% cut in duty.
The ‘Drop the Duty’ campaign has since also been endorsed by the Craft Distillers’ Alliance.