UK market for Scotch Whisky shrinks
12 Mar 2014
Industry calls for fairer tax treatment in next week's
The UK market for Scotch Whisky declined by 3% last year at the
same time as unfair annual inflation-busting excise duty increases
continued to pile pressure on the industry.
Figures published today reveal that the number of 70cl bottles
of Scotch Whisky released for sale in the UK fell to 87.5 million
in 2013 from 90m the previous year.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said this is further
evidence that the alcohol duty escalator, introduced in 2008, is
damaging a domestic industry that is vital to the economy.The
industry supports 35,000 jobs and is vital to many fragile rural
and urban communities. The escalator means that duty has increased
by 2% above the rate of inflation each year since 2008. Tax on
Scotch Whisky has risen by 44% over five years.
Some 79% of the average price of a bottle of Scotch is now made
up of tax and VAT.
The SWA is asking Chancellor George Osborne to 'Call Time on
Duty' in next week's Budget statement (19 March). It is calling for
the alcohol duty escalator to be scrapped and duty frozen. The SWA
says this would be fairer on the industry and hard-pressed
consumers, as well as boosting public finances.
Since the escalator was introduced, the UK market for Scotch
Whisky has declined more than 15% in volume from 103m bottles in
2008. Some 16m bottles of Scotch have been lost from the domestic
market in the last five years.
In last year's Budget, the escalator was removed from beer and
duty was cut. Whisky drinkers now pay 48% more duty than beer
drinkers for the same amount of alcohol. The 'Call Time on Duty'
campaign wants the escalator scrapped on all alcohol and duty
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said:
"It's obviously disappointing to see this decline in Scotch Whisky
volumes in our domestic market. In next week's Budget the
Chancellor has the perfect opportunity to support a vital Scottish
industry. He should scrap the unfair alcohol duty escalator and
freeze duty this year. This move would also benefit consumers and
"Since the introduction of the escalator in 2008, the UK market
for Scotch Whisky has shrunk by more than 15%. Fairer tax treatment
would help address this decline in the UK. It would send the right
message to overseas governments in markets where imported products,
such as Scotch Whisky, face discrimination. It would also reflect
and support the UK's drive for export-led growth."
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 the UK.
The Scotch Whisky Association is part of the Call Time on Duty
Campaign with the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and the
Taxpayers' Alliance. www.calltimeonduty.co.uk
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, firstname.lastname@example.org