Scotch Whisky producers call for ambitious vision to build economy

23 May 2016

SWA members hold annual gathering in Edinburgh

Scotch Whisky producers called today on new MSPs and the Scottish Government to work in partnership with one of Scotland's largest industries to build an ambitious vision for the Scottish economy.

Nearly two hundred people from across the Scotch Whisky industry gathered today at the annual Members' Day of The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) in Edinburgh. 

The theme of this year's event was 'Scotch Whisky - learning from the past, fit for the future' - with companies, small and large, discussing the industry's priorities at home and abroad, as well as how Scotch Whisky can continue to succeed in an ever-more competitive global marketplace.

Scotch Whisky is vital to the UK economy - contributing around £5 billion each year in added value and supporting more than 40,000 jobs.  With annual exports of nearly £4 billion, Scotch Whisky is the single largest net contributor to the UK's balance of trade in goods. 

Addressing the event, David Frost, SWA chief executive, said:

"The current slowdown in Scottish economic indicators is troubling.  To get growth to resume, we call on the Scottish Government to set an explicit policy goal that Scotland should be at least as competitive as the rest of the UK- ideally more so - and to use the new devolved powers with this in mind.  This must include a balanced approach to taxation and sustained investment in infrastructure and connectivity. 

"We also need the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to foster a dynamic and competitive business environment in Scotland.  The Scotch Whisky industry is ready to work with both, and our existing work on boosting exports, developing skills, and achieving demanding environmental targets already shows what can be achieved through partnership." 

A range of extracts from David Frost's speech, covering the EU referendum, Scotch Whisky exports,  excise duty, and the responsible drinking agenda including the latest proposed Chief Medical Officer guidelines, can be found below.

Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop, the keynote speaker, said:

"I am very pleased to be speaking at the SWA's Members' Day.  Scotch whisky is an iconic Scottish product and one of the UK's finest export goods, with a tremendous international reputation. The industry is also a key part of the UK's economy, helping to create jobs, security and prosperity for families across the country. The UK Government is doing all it can to support the industry, including by freezing duty and protecting the Scotch Whisky Geographical Indication.  I look forward to working with the SWA and the new Scottish Government to continue to help grow this important sector."

ENDS

The SWA works to sustain Scotch Whisky's place as the world's leading high quality drink and its long-term growth worldwide.

For more information on the SWA visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk and follow us on Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA.

Images will be available to download via our website flickr feed later this morning.

With media queries, please contact Graeme Littlejohn (Tel 020 7960 6981 and 0734 112 7578, glittlejohn@swa.org.uk) or Lauren McArthur (Tel 0131 222 9233, lmcarthur@swa.org.uk). 



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