End the Scotch ‘Supertax’ of nearly 80%

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is calling on politicians to give the scotch whisky industry the support it needs to ensure it remains a ‘great British success story’.

The SWA is setting out its priorities for the new UK Parliament, following the general election.

The association says as the industry approaches the challenges and opportunities posed by the UK’s exit from the EU, the SWA is urging MPs from all parties to work with Scotland’s distillers to deliver a Brexit framework that supports future export growth, as well as a competitive domestic tax and regulatory environment.

On tax and excise, the SWA is calling on the government to address the ‘Scotch Supertax’, since excise and VAT on an average priced bottle of Scotch in the UK is now an onerous 79%. According to the SWA, the near 80% tax burden is holding the industry back at a time when, particularly because of the pressures brought by Brexit, the UK Government should be supporting domestic industries to enable them to flourish and to increase their exports.

The SWA is urging the Treasury to take action to reduce the ‘Scotch Supertax’ in the autumn budget. Currently, a unit of alcohol served as scotch is taxed 51% higher than the same unit of alcohol in beer and 19% higher than wine.

The SWA is also calling on Westminster politicians to support scotch by:

• Delivering on the industry’s Brexit priorities to help boost exports;

• Promoting a competitive business environment for distillers;

• Working with partners to reduce alcohol misuse;

• Supporting investment in sustainability;

• Developing a Scotch Whisky ‘sector deal’ as part of the government’s proposed UK industrial strategy.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts (pictured), said: “Scotch whisky is an industry of huge importance to the UK, which supports over 40,000 jobs and exports more than £4 billion worth of whisky to 182 markets overseas every year.

“However, our success is not a given. So, we are urging politicians at Westminster and Holyrood to work with us to deliver a Brexit that supports our future export growth and creates a more competitive domestic environment.

“As part of this, we want to see a cut to the near-80% ‘Scotch Supertax’.  Scotch has been a highly successful great British export for many years but its treatment in its home market is damaging its ability to grow at home and to sell overseas,” said Betts.