Scots call on Hammond to cut whisky duty

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Drop the Dram Duty: Latest polling shows broad disaffection with how the Government is dealing with the Scotch Whisky industry.
Drop the Dram Duty: Latest polling shows broad disaffection with how the Government is dealing with the Scotch Whisky industry.

Related tags: Scotch whisky association, Scotch whisky, Scotland, Whisky

New polling has revealed that more than two thirds of Scots want Chancellor Philip Hammond to cut whisky's “supertax” in this month’s budget.

The survey, conducted by Survation for the Scotch Whisky Association last week, revealed that 68% of Scots back a duty cut in the forthcoming budget. Sixty four per cent also agreed that the Government should do more to support Scotch Whisky, with only 15% of respondents believing the Government is doing enough to support the industry - which supports 40,000 UK jobs, more than a quarter of which are in Scotland.

Following an increase in whisky duty of 3.9% in March, the industry has endured a difficult 2017, with sales falling by one million bottles and revenues dropping by 7% year on year in the first three months after the increase.

"Deeply concerned"

Conservative MP for Moray, Douglas Ross MP, said: "The Scotch Whisky industry is hugely important to Moray as well as the entire county. I was deeply concerned about the impact of the duty rise introduced by the Chancellor in the last Budget, and hope he has carefully considered the impact of any further changes in the coming weeks.

"Along with colleagues, I have been lobbying the government to protect this important industry, and hope the strong case which has been presented by the industry and politicians will be taken into account in the Budget this month."

The survey also revealed that 72% of Scots believe it’s unfair that Scotch whisky is taxed at a higher level than still wine or beer. The taxes on Scotch whisky now make up a huge 80% on an average-priced bottle.

"Global success story"

Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, which launched the Drop the Dram Duty​ campaign, said: "We are urging the Chancellor to use the Budget to cut tax on Scotch and back this global success story.

"The Westminster Government has a real chance to show it is fully behind a leading UK manufacturing and exporting industry at a vital time, and fully behind the jobs and communities in Scotland that the industry supports.

"Using the Budget to Drop the Dram Duty ​will give Scotch the support it needs to go from strength to strength."

Related topics: Legislation

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