Scotch Whisky industry meets with Treasury on 80% duty burden
11 Feb 2015
SWA makes its case for 2% cut in excise in March
The Scotch Whisky industry this week met with the Treasury in
advance of the UK Budget on 18 March to put its case for a 2% cut
in spirits duty.
Representatives from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)
yesterday (10 February) discussed the pressures on the industry
caused by the nearly 80% tax burden on an average bottle of Scotch
with Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Priti Patel MP.
While the SWA welcomed the Chancellor's decision to scrap the
alcohol duty escalator and freeze excise in last year's Budget it
said more has to be done to support the industry.
The Scotch Whisky industry contributes almost £5 billion to the
UK economy and supports more than 40,000 jobs but its future growth
is being stifled by the current excise regime. A cut in duty would
give a further boost to the industry and its supply chain.
Supporting Scotch in its home market would allow the industry to
add to the £1.8bn it already spends annually on supplies, such as
bottles and packaging.
The SWA said taxation is putting pressure on the industry, in
the UK and overseas, and consumers:
- Excise on Scotch is 44% - or £2.42 a bottle - higher than when
the escalator was introduced in 2008.
- Duty on Scotch has only been cut three times in the last
- The UK is the third largest Scotch Whisky market but challenges
are being exacerbated by the high level of tax. The number of
bottles of Scotch released for sale in the UK in the first half of
2014 was 35.4 million, down 7.30% from 38.2m in the first half
- Scotch exports were down 6% in volume and 11% in value in the
first half of last year. The tax burden in the UK encourages
discrimination against Scotch in overseas markets.
- Two out of three people in the UK are unaware they pay almost
80% of tax on a bottle of Scotch. When they are told the level of
tax, 84% describe it as unfair.
David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association,
"We had a warm and constructive discussion with the Exchequer
Secretary to the Treasury, Priti Patel MP. The Minister clearly
understands Scotch Whisky's economic importance and we welcome her
interest in the industry.
"In the UK, Scotch Whisky is under sustained pressure from
taxation. 80% of the price of an average bottle of Scotch Whisky is
taxation and we hope the government will take on board our concerns
about the negative impact of this onerous tax burden.
"In last year's Budget, the Chancellor highlighted Scotch Whisky
as a 'huge British success story'. We hope this year too he will
show his support for this world-class manufacturing industry, which
adds £5bn to the UK economy and £4bn net to the UK trade
performance every year.
"We hope the Government will back us by cutting duty by 2% for
Scotch Whisky this year. This would be fair to consumers, send a
powerful signal to export markets, support public finances, and
most of all promote investment and jobs."
The SWA also outlined its Budget case to the Chief Secretary to
the Treasury, Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP, at a meeting in late
The SWA's Budget submission to the Treasury is below.
For more information please contact SWA communications manager
Rosemary Gallagher on 0131 222 9230/07432 605385 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA