Scots call for UK government to support Scotch in new poll
11 Sep 2018
Nearly three in four Scots (71%) believe tax on Scotch Whisky in
the UK should be at least as competitive as European taxes on
flagship food and drink products, according to a Survation poll
commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association.
£3 in every £4 spent on the average priced bottle of Scotch
Whisky in the UK goes directly to the Treasury in taxation.
Scotland's national drink is currently taxed 76% higher than the EU
average for spirits. Ironically, it is cheaper to buy a bottle of
Scotch in France than it is in the home of Scotch.
The industry recently reported a record 1.9 million visits to
distilleries and tourist centres in 2017. Many of those tourists
are shocked at the level of taxation of Scotland's national drink
in its home market, with distilleries facing the 4th highest rate
of spirits duty across the EU. The Scotch Whisky Association is
calling on the UK Government to continue to support Scotch Whisky
at home through a duty freeze in the Autumn Budget.
The freeze on spirits excise duty announced by the Chancellor in
November 2017 has delivered £1.6bn for the Treasury in the period
February to July - a 7.5% (£114m) increase on revenues during the
same period in 2017.
Nearly three fifths (57%) of those questioned claimed the UK
government could do more to support the Scotch Whisky industry,
which is responsible for a fifth of all UK food and drink exports,
worth over £4 billion a year.
Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch
Whisky Association, said:
"The Scotch Whisky industry is working hard to boost our exports
and improve trading conditions for Scotch all over the world. As we
do so, we are calling on the government to recognise the
contribution we make to the UK's balance of trade in goods and back
us at home.
"It is inconceivable France would hamstring its wine industry
through heavy taxation. Yet, despite Scotch Whisky generating
billions in revenue for the economy, employing thousands of people,
and attracting millions of tourists every year, it remains among
the most taxed food and drink products in Europe.
"That is why we are calling on the Chancellor to continue to
freeze duty on spirits in this year's Budget. The evidence shows
that a continued freeze would not only deliver greater revenue for
the Treasury, but also help to support an industry that has
invested more than £500m in capital projects over the last five
Notes to editors
The survey was conducted by Survation between 29 August and 3
September 2018. This survey was conducted via an online panel and
had a sample size of 1,040 Scottish residents aged 18+. Invitations
to complete surveys were sent to members of the panel. Differential
response rates from different demographic groups were taken into
Full polling results available
In France, the duty on a litre of pure alcohol is £15.39; in
Germany, it is £11.52; in Spain £8.48. All three countries are in
the top five global export markets for Scotch Whisky. The EU
average is £16.31. In the UK it is £28.74 per litre of pure
alcohol, making it 76% higher than the EU average.