End ‘Scotch supertax’, says SWA

11th July, 2017 by Kristiane Sherry

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is launching a fresh cross-party push for industry support following the recent general election, action that includes a new campaign to scrap the ‘Scotch supertax’.

At present in the UK, 79% of the price of an ‘average’ bottle of Scotch (£12.90/US$16) is excise duty or VAT. SWA calculations show that one unit of alcohol in Scotch is taxed 51% higher than the same unit in beer and 19% higher than in wine.

According to the SWA, this “burden” is holding the industry back at a time when the government should be supporting domestic industries, “particularly because of the pressures brought by Brexit”.

The association is calling on the government to reduce the ‘supertax’ in the Autumn Budget.

The SWA’s other priorities following the general election include calling on the government to deliver on Brexit priorities, promote a competitive business environment for distillers, work to reduce alcohol misuse, support investment in sustainability, and develop a Scotch ‘sector deal’ as part of a proposed UK industrial strategy.

“Scotch whisky is an industry of huge importance to the UK, which supports over 40,000 jobs and exports more than £4 billion worth of whisky to 182 markets overseas every year,” said Karen Betts, SWA chief executive.

“However, our success is not a given. So we are urging politicians at Westminster and Holyrood to work with us to deliver a Brexit that supports our future export growth and creates a more competitive domestic environment. As part of this, we want to see a cut to the near-80% ‘Scotch supertax’.

“Scotch has been a highly successful great British export for many years but its treatment in its home market is damaging its ability to grow at home and to sell overseas.”

Earlier this month the SWA welcomed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Japan, which will establish legal protection for the category in Japan for the first time.

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