Scotch Whisky industry sets out case for 2% cut in excise in March Budget
02 Feb 2017
Submission explains unfairness of 77% tax on bottle of
Industry calls for UK Government to 'Stand up for
In its Budget submission to the Treasury, the Scotch Whisky
Association (SWA) sets out the unfairness of the current level of
tax on Scotch Whisky - 77% on an average priced bottle - and calls
for a 2% cut in excise duty.
The SWA is calling on the Chancellor to 'Stand up for Scotch' in
the Budget on March 8 to support a strategically important
industry, benefit consumers and boost public finances.
As the largest net contributor to the UK's balance of trade,
Scotch Whisky is vital to the UK economy and a truly global drink.
In its submission, the SWA says that during a time of change
created by Brexit, the industry needs a supportive domestic tax
environment. A 2% cut in excise would be a move in the right
direction, as would steps towards excise duty fairness in future
Such support would also give confidence to the unprecedented
level of new entrants to the industry. Since 2013, 14 Scotch Whisky
distilleries have opened and a further eight are set to start
production this year. The UK is the fourth largest market for
Scotch and is particularly important for newer companies. While a
competitive domestic business environment is vital to new starts
and SMEs, it also benefits existing distillers looking to
expand to meet growing demand.
A fair tax for whisky is also likely to boost spirits revenue to
the Treasury. Following the 2% cut in spirits duty in March 2015,
spirits revenue in 2015/16 increased by £123 million to £3.15
billion. Spirits revenue is now £155m a year higher than when the
spirits duty escalator was scrapped in 2014.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the Scotch Whisky
"A 77% tax on a bottle of Scotch Whisky is unfair for a number
of reasons, so we are calling for a 2% cut in excise in next
month's Budget. The onerous level of tax fails to recognise the
strategic importance of Scotch Whisky to the UK economy and its
export performance. And it punishes responsible consumers of Scotch
Whisky who are paying over the odds in tax compared to people who
choose other drinks. A cut in excise for Scotch is also likely to
be good for the public purse. Positive changes to tax in recent
years have seen spirits revenue grow.
"We hope that the Chancellor will consider the compelling
evidence of the benefit of a cut in excise duty on spirits and give
the Scotch Whisky industry and consumers some cheer in the Budget
on 8 March."
Notes to editors
A cut would also give relief to consumers who are currently paying
a high level of tax to enjoy a dram. People who choose Scotch
Whisky pay 51% more duty than beer drinkers, 19% more than wine
drinkers and 327% more than cider consumer per unit of alcohol. The
SWA believes this is unfair on responsible drinkers of Scotch.
The SWA's full Budget submission can be found below.
For more information please contact SWA head of communications
Rosemary Gallagher on 0131 222 9230/07432 605385 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA