Belfast Telegraph

'Scotch supertax' needs to be cut, drinks sector body says

A drinks industry body is calling for politicians to cut the so-called Scotch supertax to prevent further damage to the sector.

Excise and VAT on an average-priced bottle of Scotch in the UK is 79%, which the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) says is stymieing growth.

On a unit for unit basis, Scotch is taxed 51% higher than beer and 19% higher than wine.

The SWA is urging the Treasury to reduce duties paid on Scotch in the Autumn Budget.

The association also wants MPs from all parties to work with Scotland's distillers to deliver a Brexit framework that supports future export growth and to d evelop a special sector deal for Scotch whisky as part of the government's proposed UK industrial strategy.

Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "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.

"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."

A Treasury spokeswoman said: "Scottish whisky is a great UK export story, exporting £4 billion worth of products a year.

"In the UK, tax on a bottle of Scotch is 90p lower now than it would have otherwise been thanks to duty freezes and cuts introduced in the last three years."