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11 October 2018

Majority of Scots feel Whisky tax is unfair on Scotland

Whisky with ice
The majority of Scots (58%) believe an increase in Scotch Whisky excise duty would show that the UK government doesn't care about the future Scotland, a new poll has found.

According to a Survation poll commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association, over two thirds (68 percent) of the population also consider the present level of taxation unfair. Currently £3 in every £4 spent on the average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky in the UK goes directly to the Treasury in taxation.

The Scotch Whisky Association is calling on the UK Government to continue to support Scotch Whisky at home through a duty freeze in the Autumn Budget.

The freeze on spirits excise duty announced by the Chancellor in November 2017 has delivered almost £2bn for the Treasury in the period February to August - a 9.1 percent (£163m) increase on revenues during the same period in 2017. Furthermore, new economic analysis conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, shows that by continuing to freeze spirits duty, the Chancellor can grow revenue by an additional £64m in 2019/20 and by almost £200m by 2021.

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said:

"Scotch Whisky producers are working hard to continue to boost already record levels of exports, invest in communities across Scotland, and generate billions for the Scottish economy. However, to ensure our industry remains competitive as uncertainty over Brexit persists, we are urging the UK government to support Scotch by delivering a freeze in this year's Budget.

"Freezing duty on Scotch Whisky will underscore the UK government's commitment to supporting Scotland's vibrant, world-leading whisky industry. Importantly, it will also boost government revenue, providing additional funds to help invest in vital public services.

"We are calling on the Chancellor to support Scotch and signal to the world that we are proud of Scotland's national drink and eager to support its continued success."

Notes to editors

The survey was conducted by Survation between 29 August and 3 September 2018. This survey was conducted via an online panel and had a sample size of 1,040 Scottish residents aged 18+.

Invitations to complete surveys were sent to members of the panel. Differential response rates from different demographic groups were taken into account.

When asked 'To what extent do you agree or disagree that increasing duty on whisky would show that the Westminster government doesn't care about Scotland?' 30% strongly agreed, 28% somewhat agreed (NET AGREE 58%).