Scotch whisky contribution to UK economy hits £5.5bn

30th April, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Scotland’s national drink has contributed £5.5 billion (US$7.1bn) to the UK economy – an increase of 10% between 2016 and 2018.

Scotch whisky ice

Scotch whisky contributes £5.5bn to the UK economy

The report by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) builds on research from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR).

Scotch whisky generates two thirds of all spirits gross value added (GVA) in the UK, the report noted, supported by record exports of £4.7bn (US$6.1bn) in 2018, as well as the beginning of production at new distilleries.

Scotland’s national spirit also provides £3.8bn (US$4.9bn) in GVA to the country.

The sector is said to be a key driver in productivity across Scotland. The manufacture of beverages in Scotland – dominated by Scotch – produces £210,505 GVA per employee.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA, said: “Significantly, the research shows that our industry’s GVA increased by 10% to £5.5bn between 2016 and 2018, as a result of Scotch whisky companies’ continued export success and the industry’s consistent investment at home – with over £500 million (US$649.4m) going into production, distribution, marketing and tourism in the last five years.

“Despite the challenges of Brexit, this investment continues to flow, with further projects planned and more distilleries set to open – a sign that the Scotch whisky industry remains confident about the future.

Betts also highlighted the high rate of tax facing Scotch whisky in the UK.

She said: “In the US, Scotch and other whiskies are taxed at just 27% of the rate that HM treasury taxes us here at home.

“We will continue to press the chancellor for fairer treatment for Scotch whisky in our domestic market, which reflects the vital economic contribution the industry makes to the UK economy every day.”

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