Wednesday, 03 October 2018 15:13

SNP WARN CHANCELLOR AGAINST DELIVERING ECONOMIC “BODY BLOW” TO SCOTCH WHISKY SECTOR

The SNP has warned the Chancellor against delivering an “economic body blow” to Scotland’s whisky industry, following reports the Tory government is set to use this month’s budget to increase whisky duty.

Brendan O’Hara MP, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Scotch Whisky, said that once again Scottish Tory MPs have “proven to be all foam and no beer,” when it comes to standing up for Scotland’s interests and industries.

The Scotch Whisky Association said that a freeze on duty has “boosted investment and created jobs in communities across Scotland.”

The Treasury’s own figures revealed that the freeze on spirits duty announced in November 2017 had increased government revenue. This was despite the fact that the UK government forecasted that the duty freeze would cost £225m over 2018/19. In reality, between February to July this year, revenues increased by £113m.

Scotch whisky is responsible for approximately a fifth of UK food and drink exports, and the industry supports more than 40,000 jobs directly and through its supply chain.

SNP MP Brendan O’Hara said:

“While the Scottish Tory MPs choose to embroil themselves in petty party infighting, the Chancellor is set to plough ahead with plans to deliver an economic body blow to Scotland’s thriving whisky sector with an increase in duty.

“For all of their rhetoric of standing up for Scotland's interests and vital industries, the Scottish Tories have once again proven to be all foam and no beer.

“Scotch whisky is one of Scotland’s major assets and a global success story.  At a time of continued uncertainty and instability because of Brexit, the Tory government cannot undermine our whisky industry by increasing the tax liability on our producers who already contribute so much.

"It's high time the Treasury listened to the concerns raised by the industry and retained the duty freeze on Scotch whisky. An unnecessary tax hike would seriously jeopardise the sector's ability to thrive and grow in an already challenging economic environment."

Read 108 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 October 2018 05:06

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