Scotch whisky sector ‘bigger than iron and steel’By Melita Kiely
The Scotch whisky industry is now more valuable than iron or steel and contributes nearly £5 billion to the UK economy, according to a new report.
Commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), The Economic Impact of Scotch Whisky Production in the UK, revealed that Scotch is worth £4.956bn to the UK, and for every £1 million of value added to the economy, the industry makes a further £520,000 across the UK.
This money comes from spending on suppliers in various fields, including packaging and hauling.
It means Scotch accounts for nearly tree quarters of the food and drink sector in Scotland – three times bigger than the country’s digital of life science industries.
“This new report shows just how significant the Scotch whisky industry is to the wider UK economy, adding £5bn of value, supporting over 40,000 jobs and contributing £4bn to Britain’s trade performance,” commented David Frost, CEO of the SWA.
“Scotch whisky must be recognised as a cultural asset that boosts growth and jobs, supports communities and combines the best of the traditional and the modern.
“Given the scale and impact of the Scotch whisky industry we believe the government should show its support. One way of doing so, in the short term, would be for the Chancellor to cut excise duty by 2% in the March Budget.
“It is unfair on the industry and consumers, and detrimental to the economy, that almost 80% of the average price of a bottle of a Scotch is taxation.”
According to the report, economic impact of the industry has grown by £3bn since 2008 – an increase of 21%.
Producers spend £1.8bn on suppliers each year to cover dry goods, bottles, packaging, cereals, energy, transport and distribution, 90% of which is in the UK.
In 2008, the industry supported 35,00 jobs in the UK, but this has now grown to 40,300 in various sectors including glass, manufacturing and labelling.
This includes 10,900 workers employed directly by the industry in Scotland – an increase of 6%.