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08 May 2017

SWA calls on politicians to 'Support Scotch'


Scotch Whisky Association publishes election manifesto

With exactly a month to go until the nation votes in the UK General Election, politicians are being asked to stand up for a Great British and Scottish industry by showing their support for Scotch Whisky.

In its manifesto published today, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is calling on all political parties and candidates to #SupportScotch.

The SWA says industry success must not be taken for granted and that such backing is vital for a sector that makes a substantial contribution to the UK economy and society. Scotch Whisky adds almost £5 billion a year in value; generates more than £4bn in exports; supports more than 40,000 jobs and spends £1.7bn on its largely UK-based supply chain.

The trade body has set out six manifesto pledges to boost the Scotch Whisky industry:

  • Advocate for review of the excise duty system and fairer tax for Scotch - to address the punitive near-80% tax on an average priced bottle of whisky, the SWA believes there is an urgent need for reform to introduce a fairer system that taxes all alcoholic drinks on the same basis according to alcohol content.
  • Support Scotch exports by delivering on the industry's Brexit priorities through ambitious trade deals and robust IP protection - with Scotch shipments worth more than a fifth of total UK food and drink exports, the Government should support this overseas success to encourage even more growth. Scotch should be an integral part of any food and drink promotion, with the success of the industry a litmus test of the success of Brexit.
  • Promote a competitive business environment for distillers - The UK and Scottish Governments should work together to ensure the industry and its supply chain flourish. It is vital that Scotland is at least as competitive as the rest of the UK. A 'rural first' policy should be implemented when digital infrastructure is upgraded to help address the historic infrastructure gap.
  • Work in partnership to reduce alcohol misuse - Tackling alcohol misuse is a complex issue and needs a multi-stakeholder partnership approach, based on robust evidence. The industry is committed to playing its part, through initiatives such as the Scotch Whisky Action Fund.
  • Target reform supporting investment in sustainability - The industry is committed to protecting the natural environment and the circular economy, supporting by its ambitious Environmental Strategy. But regulation reform is needed to encourage more sustainability. It must be balanced, consistent and transparent.
  • Support Scotch Whisky through the UK industrial strategy - The SWA is calling for a sector deal as part of the strategy to secure its place as a world-leading industry.
With ongoing Brexit uncertainty, the Scotch Whisky industry needs government action

Julie Hesketh-Laird, SWA acting chief executive, said: "We are making a call for all candidates and political parties to show their support for Scotch Whisky - a strategically important industry for our economy.

"The continued success of the Scotch Whisky industry must not be taken for granted.

"With ongoing Brexit uncertainty, the Scotch Whisky industry needs government action that matches its warm words and that enables the industry to grasp the challenges and opportunities which lies ahead. Support at home is needed to underpin and maintain our position as the world's leading spirit drink."

You can follow us on Twitter at @ScotchWhiskySWA and #SupportScotch

The SWA Manifesto is available to download below.

With media enquiries, please contact: Rosemary Gallagher, SWA Head of Communications
0131 222 9230 or 07432 605 385 or