Scots say 76% whisky tax unfair
30 Dec 2015
EMBARGOED TO 00.01 ON 30 DECEMBER
• More than 90% of Scots say the current Scotch Whisky tax
• 85% of the wider British public surveyed agree
SCOTS overwhelmingly consider the 76% tax levied on a bottle of
Scotch Whisky to be unfair.
In a poll conducted on behalf of the Scotch Whisky Association
(SWA), an overwhelming 92% of Scots said that they believed the
current tax paid on an average priced bottle of whisky in the UK
More than three quarters of the price of a bottle of Scotch
(76%) is tax paid to the Exchequer in excise duty and VAT. As well
as being unfair to consumers, the industry believes that the
onerous level of tax is damaging to the economy. The SWA says that
if less tax was levied, more jobs could be safeguarded and smaller
businesses could flourish.
Scotch is already a great success story, with 117 distilleries,
employing more than 10,000 people in Scotland, supporting 40,000
jobs across the UK and generating £5 billion in value each year.
However the SWA says the industry cannot be taken for granted.
And the wider British public agrees. Of those surveyed, 85%
agreed that the tax was unfair. Women in particular - 90% of those
polled - believed that tax levels were unfair.
Drinkers - currently paying around £10* of tax on every bottle
they buy - would also benefit if duty levels were reduced.
Last year, in a historic Budget, George Osborne cut the rate of
spirits duty for the first time in almost 20 years - by two per
cent. The SWA believes that was a good start but more has to be
done by the UK Government to support the industry.
David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association,
said: "Thousands of Scots are preparing to celebrate Hogmanay with
the traditional glass of Scotch. But almost all of them
clearly believe it is wrong that 76% of the price of a bottle of
whisky goes straight to the Treasury. We agree that's unfair
"The bold move by George Osborne in this year's Budget to cut
excise duty by 2% gave a boost to our 117 Scotch Whisky
distilleries and across our UK supply chain. But that was the first
cut in spirits duty in almost 20 years and was only the fifth time
that tax on whisky has ever been cut since distilling became legal
"So there's more to be done and we want the UK Government to
build on that first step they've taken. It's an exciting time for
an iconic Scottish and British industry that is the envy of the
world. An industry that creates jobs but also supports thousands of
people who work in hospitality, retail and logistics industries the
length and breadth of the UK.
Note to Editors
*£9.91 of tax on a averagely priced bottle of Scotch whisky
About the SWA:
The Scotch Whisky Association is the industry's representative
body and promotes the long-term, global interests of Scotch Whisky
as a high quality spirit drink, of its 58member companies, and the
Scotch Whisky industry overall.
For more information please contact:
Rosemary Gallagher Fraser
Head of Communications Edelman
Public Affairs & Communications 020 3047
0743 260 5385