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29 February 2024

Cut duty on a dram to support vital Scotch industry, Scots tell Chancellor

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New poll finds more than two in three Scottish voters would support a tax cut to support Scotch Whisky distillers

Jeremy Hunt has been urged to cut excise duty on Scotch Whisky, with new polling finding that more than two in three Scots (68 percent) would back a drop in duty to support the Scotch Whisky industry.

The polling, conducted by Survation on behalf of the Scotch Whisky Association, also found that nearly nine in ten Scots (87.6 percent) view the Scotch industry as vital to the national economy.

Scotch Whisky generates £7.1 billion for the economy every year and is responsible for three in every hundred pounds in the Scottish economy.

Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of the cost of a bottle of Scotch in the UK is currently claimed in tax – with patrons of Edinburgh pubs paying double the amount of duty on the national drink as customers in a Parisian bar. UK excise duty on spirits is the highest in the G7 and fourth highest in Europe, after Jeremy Hunt hiked tax on Scotch by 10.1 percent last August – a move that’s cost the Treasury an average of £17 million a month in lost tax revenue.

The Scotch Whisky Association has urged Mr Hunt to be just the fourth Chancellor to cut spirits duty, claiming a five percent cut could net the Treasury an additional £1.6 billion for public services over the next five years.

Graeme Littlejohn, Director of Strategy at the Scotch Whisky Association, said:

“Scots are right to back a cut in spirits duty. Scotch Whisky is a vital part of the economy and the Chancellor’s tax increase last summer hasn’t worked. The government can bring in more money for the public finances by cutting duty, which will also support Mr Hunt’s mission to bring down inflation.

“The Chancellor should use the Budget on 6 March to back business and cut a tax that is already the highest in the G7. He would be just the fourth Chancellor to do so – and this would be welcome support for a vital industry.”