Scotch Whisky Association welcome tax proposal

The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed a proposed UK alcohol tax review, if the Conservatives win December’s General Election.

The Press and Journal reported that at the Roseisle Maltings, near Elgin, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a ‘review into excise on Scotch whisky’ would be carried out: ‘so that it can be even more competitive and so we can sell even more Scotch whisky around the world’.

The promise was made at a time when the whisky industry is reeling from a punitive 25% tariff imposed by Donald Trump’s US administration, which distillers claimed would hit the 11,000 people in Scotland who work in the whisky industry.

Last year exported around £1 billion worth of whisky to the states.

Commenting on the Conservative manifesto commitment to review UK alcohol taxation, announced by the Prime Minister in Speyside, SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: ‘Reform of alcohol duty has been a long term goal of the Scotch Whisky industry and is our number one ask of all political parties in the General Election.

‘This announcement is welcome, and opens the door to reforming a broken system in which large inconsistencies between alcohol categories put Scotch Whisky and the wider UK spirits industry at a competitive disadvantage.

‘A simplified alcohol duty regime in the UK to better reflect alcohol content would be fairer for consumers, increase competitiveness and, according to robust, independent economic research, remain an important driver of tax revenue to support public services.

‘Of course, the devil is in the detail and we look forward to working with HM Treasury officials on our detailed proposals submitted ahead of the Budget to ensure we have an alcohol tax system fit for the 21st century.’