What would Robert Burns have to say?
25 Jan 2014
Across the world, the anniversary of Robert Burns' birthday will
be toasted tonight (25 January) with a dram of Scotch Whisky.
However, the Scottish poet might have felt the need to put pen to
paper when it comes to the current level of tax on his favourite
tipple. Burns' taste for Scotch is celebrated in many of his poems,
including one simply entitled 'Scotch Drink' where he declares: "O
thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch Drink!"
Although best known as a poet, Burns also had a day job as an
excise man - often ensuring taxes were paid on alcohol. However,
given his self-declared love of Scotch Whisky, and his personal
views on excise delivered in his poetry, it is unlikely he would
have been in favour of 79% of the price of an average bottle being
tax and VAT.
The 'Call Time on Duty' campaign is urging the UK Government to
start addressing the burden by scrapping the alcohol duty escalator
and freezing all alcohol duties in this year's Budget.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) says this move would help
stem the damage the escalator is doing to the industry in its
domestic market. Scotch Whisky volumes have declined by 12% in the
UK over the five years since the introduction of the escalator in
March 2008. The UK market has dropped from 102 million bottles of
Scotch Whisky in 2007 to 90 million bottles in 2012.
The escalator means that duty has increased by 2% above the rate
of inflation each year. Tax on Scotch Whisky has therefore risen by
44% over five years.
Rosemary Gallagher, Scotch Whisky Association communications
"We felt it appropriate to talk about the burden of almost 80%
of a bottle of Scotch being made up of tax on the day we celebrate
the life and work of Robert Burns. As a Scot who was both vocal
about his love of whisky but also an excise man, we can only
imagine what Burns might have said about the high tax on a dram
today. However, when consumers toast the Bard tonight, we are
sure they will be shocked to know that 80% of the bottle price goes
to the Chancellor in tax. They can also have their say by
calling for fairer excise duty treatment of whisky through the Call
Time on Duty campaign.
"It is particularly unfair that the Chancellor continues to
penalise Scotch when he removed the escalator from beer, and cut
beer duty, in last year's Budget. Drinkers of a dram are now paying
50% more duty than a beer drinker for the same amount of
NOTES TO EDITORS
The SWA is joined in the Call Time on Duty campaign by the Wine
and Spirit Trade Association and the Taxpayers' Alliance.
For more information on the campaign visit www.calltimeonduty.co.uk.
For more information on the SWA visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk
and follow us on Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA
Contact Rosemary Gallagher at the SWA on 0131 222 9230/07432 605
385 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with
any media queries.