Scotch Whisky industry working with government to benefit UK economy

06 Nov 2015

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) today met Lord Dunlop, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office, and other UK Government departments to discuss how everyone can work together to encourage economic growth.

The meeting at the Scotland Office in London was an opportunity for the SWA, including chief executive David Frost, to discuss the Scotch Whisky industry's success in exporting across the globe, what can be done to further grow its overseas trade and how other sectors can learn from such achievements.

This week's figures revealed that the signs are positive for Scotch Whisky exports with a return to growth on the horizon. There is clear evidence that the recent decline in Scotch Whisky is slowing, with industry exports in the first half of the year totalling £1.7 billion. Although this represented a decline in the value exports of 3% on the first six months of 2014, it is a much smaller fall than the 11% experienced between the first half of 2013 and last year. Despite economic headwinds and political uncertainty in some markets, premium blends and Single Malt Scotch Whisky continue to become ever more popular. Single Malt exports were up 5% to £406 million in the first half of this year.

Due to the global scale of the Scotch whisky industry it is vital that a wide range of UK Government departments are abreast of current challenges and opportunities faced by Scotch producers.  A number of UK Government departments, including the Treasury, DECC and Defra, today discussed the outlook for Scotch Whisky and what more can be done to support such a British success story. Thought was also given to how the industry can collaborate with other sectors, especially in food and drink, to encourage exports, particularly to emerging markets.

David Frost, SWA chief executive, said: "We had a very constructive meeting with Lord Dunlop and his colleagues.

"They are aware that others can learn from the success of Scotch Whisky, which adds £5 billion a year in value to the UK economy and supports 40,000 jobs.

"We already receive excellent support for the industry from government, but it was a chance to discuss what more can be done, for example, in the areas of taxation and opening up markets. It was also an opportunity for Whitehall departments to learn of some of the lesser known work that the Scotch Whisky industry undertakes to promote responsible drinking and environmental sustainability.

"We will be meeting regularly to share our thoughts on the industry and the wider economy."

Lord Dunlop, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office, said: "The UK Government's job is to make sure Scotland is as innovative, prosperous and as successful as it can be. We are helping a wide range of sectors in Scotland in different ways, from creating platforms for export to protecting geographical indication for Scottish products and preventing the passing off of inferior products in markets around the world. We all know the Scotch Whisky industry has an iconic place in our economy as well as making a huge contribution to employment. I look forward to working closely with the SWA and others in future to ensure its continued success."

ENDS

Notes to editors
Rosemary Gallagher, SWA head of communications, 0131 222 9230/07432 605385 or email rgallagher@swa.org.uk