UK tax on Scotch over double the rest of Europe’s

10 Mar 2016

Research from the Scotch Whisky Association has found that, despite only drinking 17.5% of all Scotch Whisky consumed in the European Union, consumers of Scotch in the UK are paying 38% of Europe's total Scotch Whisky tax take.

Despite being made domestically - as all Scotch Whisky must be produced in Scotland - Scotch consumed in the UK is taxed at one of the highest rates in Europe, with 76% of the price of an average bottle made up of tax (Vat and excise duty).

Other European countries pay significantly less tax on the average bottle. Germany's tax rate is 45%, for instance, while rates in Italy and Spain are 44% and 41% respectively.

This means that the UK's tax rate is actually 1.5 times the average paid by other European countries (49%), contributing to £8.6 million paid in tax to HMRC each day by UK spirits drinkers.

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "The Chancellor needs to Stand Up For Scotch again in next week's Budget and cut excise duty on Scotch Whisky by 2%. Another cut will help deliver growth in this iconic British industry, while providing a fairer level of tax for Scotch Whisky drinkers in the UK."

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "High taxes are holding back our most successful industries and the Budget is the perfect time for the Chancellor to cut duties on drinks. Not only will this ease the pressure on hard-pressed taxpayers, but it will create the conditions for jobs and growth. Past cuts have been hugely successful so George Osborne should seize the opportunity and show that he is on the side of both consumers and businesses."


SWA calculations based on International Wine & Spirit Record consumption figures, price statistics and HMRC figures.

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With queries please contact Rosemary Gallagher, SWA head of communications, Tel 0131 222 9230/07432 605385,