UK gov vows to support Scotch with new strategy

28th November, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed the UK Government’s new Industrial Strategy and its creation of the Food and Drink Sector Council, which aims to address the “challenges and opportunities” resulting from Brexit.

The Industrial Strategy White Paper was unveiled by business secretary Greg Clark yesterday (Monday 27 November).

It aims to establish a “long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK”. Under the strategy, the government is endeavouring to make the UK the “world’s most innovative nation by 2030”.

The strategy includes plans for a Food and Drink Council, a “partnership between the government and the whole food chain”. This partnership will aim to address the “significant opportunities and challenges” the sector faces when the UK departs the EU in 2019.

An “early task” for the Food and Drink Council will be the creation of a ‘sector deal’ in food and drink manufacturing, which would include plans to “transform exports”.

So-called ‘sector deals’ already exist for four industries under the strategy. They are “partnerships between the government and industry on sector-specific issues”, which are “backed by private sector co-investment”.

The SWA would like to see the establishment of a specific ‘UK spirits sector deal’.

“With Scotch whisky making up 20% of the UK’s food and drink exports, we welcome the UK government’s commitment to work with the sector by establishing the Food and Drink Sector Council,” said Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA.

“The Scotch Whisky industry looks forward to playing a full part in the proposed food and drink manufacturing sector deal, utilising decades of experience and expertise to boost exports and drive productivity.

“Then, by going beyond this, we are eager to work with government to develop a specific UK spirits sector deal which will build on the success of Scotch whisky and other UK spirits by supporting growth in an increasingly competitive global market place.”

She added that the “challenges of Brexit require a new dialogue between industry and government”, and that the new strategy presents an opportunity to address “structural issues in the economy that hold business back”.

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