GMB urges UK govt to safeguard Scotch

27th February, 2017 by Annie Hayes

Trade union GMB Scotland has called for the UK government to implement measures to protect an estimated 160,000 jobs related to the Scotch whisky industry amid Brexit uncertainty.

GMB Scotland has called for the UK government to protect an estimated 160,000 jobs related to the Scotch whisky industry

GMB has written to UK Government Scottish secretary David Mundell urging him to implement measures that protect the £5 billion Scotch whisky industry, which supports more than 40,000 jobs in the UK.

An additional 120,000 jobs are connected with whisky production and exports, and of these, 7,000 are based in rural areas where other work is hard to find, the trade body has said.

Scotch whisky is covered by World Trade Organisation agreements – meaning exports won’t be subject to tariffs inside the EU. However 10% of Scotch whisky exports, worth £400m, go to markets such as Columbia, Mexico and South Korea, where trade agreements were brokered through the EU.

After Brexit, GMB said, these exports may be subject to “punishing” tariffs.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “Tens of thousands of jobs depend on whisky and the government needs to take action to protect our members livelihoods post-Brexit.

“Our members want assurances that the government will be doing all it can to ensure whisky sector can thrive, creating much needed new jobs by securing good deals with new markets. Quite simply, we cannot do without this industry.”

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