Collaboration vital says SWA

The Scotch whisky Association has emphasised its commitment to working with the Scottish government to the benefit of the wider Scottish economy.

Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) chief executive David Frost (pictured) met with Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary Rural Economy and Connectivity, this month to discuss current challenges and opportunities.

Such collaboration between industry and government is particularly important during such a time of change brought about by the outcome of the EU referendum, says the SWA.

The SWA says scotch whisky production plays a vital role in rural communities across Scotland. Distilleries are a source of jobs in areas that might otherwise find it hard to sustain them, and are strongly aligned with wider tourism activities in rural economies. More than 7,000 workers in the scotch whisky industry are employed in rural communities.

Scotch is a key competitive strength for the Scottish economy and in particular its exports.

But the SWA said more can always be done to support the rural economy, so close collaboration with government is necessary.

MSP Ewing said: “We remain focused on pursuing all available options to keep Scotland in the EU, and that means working closely with vital industries like the whisky sector to ensure that we seek to protect their and Scotland’s interests. We are looking to develop a regular dialogue with the industry to find solutions and answers as we navigate this uncharted territory.” 

SWA chief executive, David Frost said: “We had a very worthwhile meeting with cabinet secretary. I welcome the Scottish Government’s intention to consult consistently with the scotch whisky industry, so that we can both work to support the wider economy and sustain jobs during this uncertain period. Such dialogue is particularly important as Brexit negotiations begin, so I am glad we agreed to meet on a regular basis,” said Frost.