UK market for Scotch Whisky falls in 2014
13 Mar 2015
Industry calls for fairer tax treatment in next week's
The UK market for Scotch Whisky declined by nearly 5% last year
as the industry and consumers continue to be hit by tax of almost
80% as a share of the price of an average bottle of the iconic
drink in an increasingly competitive sector.
Figures published today by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)
reveal that the number of 70cl bottles of Scotch released for sale
in the UK last year fell 4.78% to 83.3 million from 87.5m in 2013.
Since 2009 the UK market for Scotch has shrunk by 9.5% from 92m
bottles, according to the figures from Her Majesty's Revenue and
The SWA said this is further evidence that the onerous level of
taxation of 78% as a share of the price of an average bottle of
Scotch is damaging a domestic industry that is of great importance
to the economy. According to research published this year on
the economic impact of Scotch Whisky, the industry adds value of £5
billion to the UK each year and supports more than 40,000 jobs.
The SWA is asking Chancellor George Osborne to cut duty by 2% in
the Budget on 18 March. The trade body says this would be fairer on
the industry and on people who enjoy a dram.
In last year's Budget, the alcohol duty escalator was scrapped
and duty on spirits was frozen. The move was welcomed by the
industry. A duty cut this year would assist growth across the
entire Scotch Whisky industry.
According to the SWA more needs to be done to support such a
significant home-grown manufacturing sector. It says the current
system is over-burdening the industry:
- Duty on Scotch has only been cut three times in the last
- Two out of three people in the UK are unaware they pay almost
80% of tax as a share of the price of an average bottle of Scotch.
When they are told the level of tax, 84% describe it as
- British drinkers contribute one quarter of all excise duty paid
on spirits in the European Union. In contrast, French and German
consumers pay 15% and 14% of total EU spirits taxes respectively,
with Spanish consumers contributing only 5% of spirits tax
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said:
"Scotch Whisky is a massive export success for the UK so it's
obviously disappointing to see this decline in volumes in our
domestic market. In next week's Budget the Chancellor has the
perfect opportunity to support an important UK industry. He should
cut spirits duty by 2%. This move would also benefit consumers and
"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."
Notes to editors
The official figures are from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs
and are for the number of bottles released from bond for sale in
For more information on the SWA visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk
and follow us on Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA
With queries please contact Rosemary Gallagher, SWA
communications manager, Tel 0131 222 9230/07432 605385,