Scotch Whisky is Crucial to Scotland

31 May 2010

Scotch Whisky is crucial to Scotland

  • Number one indigenous industry, leading export and international icon for Scotland
  • 10,000 jobs, plus a further 30,000 relying on the industry as farmers, suppliers and distributors
  • £700m a year spent with local suppliers
  • Supports 1 in 50 Scottish jobs

... to the UK

  • Top five manufacturing export earner
  • Annual export earnings in excess of £2.8 billion
  • Accounts for 25% of food and drink exports
  • Supports 65,000 jobs across the UK

... and to the Government

  • £800m a year in excise duty and VAT
  • Tax accounts for more than 70% of the retail price of a typical bottle of Scotch Whisky


  • An outdated tax structure discriminates against UK produced spirits in favour of imported wine
  • Normal measures contain about the same amount of alcohol. Duty payable per measure varies widely


In the UK, the alcohol content of Scotch Whisky is still taxed 1.18 times more heavily than wine and 1.37 times more than beer. Current duty policy - increasing spirits duty by 2% above inflation every year until 2013 - entrenches and widens the discrimination faced by Scotch Whisky in the UK. The only fair system is to tax all drinks on the same basis, according to their alcohol content.

This will help protect jobs in Scotland, and set a good example to those countries around the world that imitate the duty discrimination they see against Scotch in the UK.