Wednesday, February 03, 2016


The Scotch Whisky Association, has this week met with the Treasury yesterday in advance of the UK Budget on March 16th to put its case for a further 2% cut in spirits duty.

Representatives from the Scotch Whisky Association met Treasury Exchequer Secretary Damian Hinds MP yesterday to discuss the pressures on the industry caused by the fact that 76% of the price of an average bottle of Scotch goes in tax.

The Scotch Whisky Association makes its case for 2% excise cut in March's Budget

While the Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the Chancellor's decision to cut duty by 2% in last year's Budget, it said more has to be done to support the industry. The industry body wants to see 'Fair Tax For Whisky' and has issued a call to action to 'Stand up for Scotch'.

In its Budget submission to the Treasury, the Scotch Whisky Association, set out how unfair the current system is on Scotch whisky. On the same amount of alcohol, Scotch drinkers pay 51% more duty than beer drinkers in the UK and 27% more than wine drinkers. When polled, three quarters of the British public said duty on Scotch should be cut.

Commenting on the news, David Frost, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "We had a constructive discussion with the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, highlighting the significant increase in Government revenues this year - nearly £100m - as a result of the spirits duty cut in March, as well as the boost that decision gave to distillers, large and small. We hope the Government will build on last year's decision by once again cutting excise by 2% and helping to reduce from the current onerous 76% the tax take on an average priced bottle of Scotch. We would like to see fair tax for whisky and we're asking the government to stand up for Scotch."

He went on to say: "We explained how a reduction in excise in next month's Budget would support public finances, promote investment and jobs across the UK and continue the progress made towards fairer tax for one of the UK's most iconic and successful industries.   In short, when unnecessarily heavy tax is cut, revenues actually go up, and consumer and industry confidence is boosted."

During yesterday’s meeting, the benefits to the Treasury reducing very high excise rates were also discussed. Last year's spirits duty cut actually helped boost tax receipts on spirits by £96 million between April and December, compared to the same period in 2014.

Posted by Steve Rush