Scots call on Chancellor to 'Drop The Dram Duty'
09 Nov 2017
Scots call on Chancellor to 'Drop The Dram Duty'
- New polling reveals huge Scottish support for cut in whisky
- Voters in Scotland say Westminster should do more to back
- Scotch industry and MPs unite to call for action in the
More than two thirds of Scots want the Chancellor to cut
sky-high duty rates on whisky in this month's Budget, new polling
Some 68 per cent say Philip Hammond should reduce taxes on
Scotch which now make up an onerous 80 per cent on an average
And 64 per cent of Scots think the UK Government should be doing
more to back the Scotch Whisky industry - which supports 40,000 UK
jobs including over 10,000 directly in Scotland.
The Chancellor is coming under increasing pressure to cut duty
rates on whisky - known as the Scotch Supertax - after he imposed a
damaging increase in his last Budget.
Philip Hammond increased duty by 3.9% in March, which has been
followed by falling sales and reduced Treasury revenues.
Sales have fallen by one million bottles after the hike, while
revenues were down 7% year-on-year in the first three months after
Scottish MPs from across the political spectrum are calling on
the Chancellor to cut duty and boost an iconic Scottish product
which is the UK's number one food and drink export.
They have backed the Scotch Whisky Association's Drop The Dram
Duty campaign calling for fairer taxes on whisky - which is taxed
more heavily than beer and wine.
Today's polling, carried out by Survation for the Scotch Whisky
Association, reveals those demands are backed by the Scottish
The survey found:
- 68% of Scots back a duty cut in the forthcoming budget, with
17% saying duty should remain the same and 4% wanting a rise.
- 64% agree that the UK Government in Westminster should do more
to support the Scotch Whisky Industry, with just 15% saying the
Government is doing enough and 2% who believed the Government
should do less.
- Among potential policy announcements in the upcoming Budget,
lowering the level of duty on Scotch to support the Scotch whisky
industry was the most supported of the three policies tested
- with 62% of Scots supporting a duty cut (16% opposed).
- 72% of Scots believe it is unfair that Scotch whisky is taxed
at a higher level than still wine or beer
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
"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."
Conservative MP for Ochil and South Perthsire Luke Graham said:
"The Scotch Whisky industry is hugely important to Scotland's
economy, and my constituency of Ochil and South Perthshire, but is
also a significant historical and cultural icon.
"The duty rise announced in the last budget has had a major impact
upon the industry, with a noticeable decrease in bottle sales, and
a second duty rise in a single calendar year would be a blow to an
important UK-wide spirits industry which already contributes a
significant amount to the Exchequer. Therefore, I hope the
Chancellor will consider the impact of any further rise very
carefully as we don't want to see two increases in a year."
Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association,
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."
For more information on the SWA visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk
and follow us on Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA.
With media queries, please contact Graeme Littlejohn, SWA head
of external relations (0207 960 6981 or 07793547574 or email
Notes to editors
- Survation interviewed 1,004 adults in Scotland online between
October 21 and 24. Data were weighted to the profile of all
Scottish adults 18+. Full tables available here
- Scotch Whisky sales have also fallen by one million bottles in
the first six months of 2017. Official HMRC figures show 36.7
million bottles were released for sale in the first six months of
2017 - down from 37.7 million in the same period last year.
- The Chancellor's 3.9% duty increase in March also negatively
impacted Treasury revenues - HMRC figures show that spirits revenue
was down more than 7% in Q1of 2017/18, falling to £697 million from
£751m in the same period the previous year.
- In contrast, the 2% cut in 2015 saw spirits revenue rise by 4%
- giving a £124 million boost to the Treasury. The freeze in 2016
led to a revenue increase of more than 7%, providing an additional
£229 million into the Chancellor's coffers.
- MPs including former Scotland Secretary Alistair Carmichael
called for ministers to rethink the Scotch "supertax" in a
Westminster Hall debate last month.
- An average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky is £12.77. Of this
total, excise duty is £8.05, VAT is £2.13, making total tax £10.18,
while the whisky is £2.59.
- The rate of excise duty per litre of alcohol on Scotch Whisky
increased 47% between 2007 and 2017 from £19.56 to £28.74. £4 in
every £5 of the cost of a bottle of Scotch in the UK goes straight
to the Treasury.
- Scotch Whisky adds £5 billion annually to the economy, is worth
£4 billion in exports and supports more than 40,000 jobs across the