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01 April 2021

Scotch Whisky Industry Sets Out Manifesto Ahead of Scottish Parliament Election

Scotch Whisky Industry Sets Out Manifesto Ahead of Scottish Parliament Election
The Scotch Whisky industry has launched its manifesto for the Scottish Elections on 6th May.

The Scotch Whisky industry has launched its manifesto ahead of the Scottish Parliament election on 6 May. The six-point manifesto calls on candidates to support the industry by signing up to commitments that range from investing in export promotion to delaying the implementation of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Unveiling the manifesto, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said candidates from all political parties have an important role in ensuring the country’s biggest food and drink export can return to growth after a year when over a billion pounds of exports were lost due to Covid and tariffs in the United States.

 Candidates are being asked to sign-up to commitments across key policy areas, including:

  • Commit to a policy framework which will incentivise investment in renewables, including hydrogen, to help the industry meet its ambition of reaching Net Zero by 2040
  • Support the tourism and hospitality sectors through the global promotion of Scotch Whisky
  • Delay the implementation of DRS in Scotland and ensure policies are geared to boosting economic growth

The Scotch Whisky industry directly employs more than 10,500 people in Scotland, including 7,000 in rural areas, and its supply chain is worth more than £1.8bn. Exports of Scotch Whisky were worth £3.8bn in 2020, down by 23% on the previous year due to a combined impact of tariffs in the US market and Covid-19.

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “The Scottish Parliamentary elections are an important opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their commitment to the Scotch Whisky industry and the role we play in the resilience of the Scottish economy.

“All political parties are focussed on the post-Covid economic recovery, and our industry has a central role to play in that. Alongside our supply chain partners, our industry is a vital engine of economic growth and productivity.  But we will also need support to recover from a stark fall in exports last year.

“The Scotch Whisky industry is determined to build back stronger and greener from Covid-19 and the shutdown this has caused in global hospitality, tourism and travel. We hope that candidates will sign-up to the commitments set out in our manifesto, and we look forward to working in partnership with MSPs in the new Parliament to deliver sustained economic growth, a low carbon economy, and a revival of international tourism.”

The Scotch Whisky industry’s full manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary election can be found here

The Scotch Whisky Association represents 75 member companies, around 90% of the Scotch Whisky industry.

Scotch Whisky exports were worth £4.9bn in 2019 – in February we reported that this figure fell to £3.8bn in 2020, a fall of 23%

Over £550m of Scotch Whisky exports have been lost as a result of the 25% tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the United States which was introduced in October 2019 and suspended on 4 March, initially for a period of 4 months.