Whisky chiefs call for a new year toast to lowering 76% whisky tax

Whisky industry chiefs call for more Government help in the new year

AS SCOTLAND PREPARES to toast the New Year this evening in traditional fashion, a new poll has indicated that as many as 90% of those taking a dram believe that the tax they paid on their tipple is far too high.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) represents the majority of whisky producers – with Speyside and Moray boasting the highest concentration of those.

In their latest survey the SWA say that more jobs could be safeguarded if the current 76% tax levy paid on each bottle of whisky was lower.

Chief Executive of the SWA is David Frost, who said: “Thousands of Scots are preparing to celebrate Hogmanay with the traditional glass of Scotch – but most of them clearly believe it is wrong that 76% of the price of a bottle of whisky goes straight to the Treasury.”

While excise duties were cut by 2% in the March budget this year, Mr Frost insists that did not go far enough to help an industry that supports over 40,000 jobs.

He added: “That was the first cut in spirits duty in almost 20 years – and was only the fifth time that tax on whisky has ever been cut since distilling became legal in 1832. There is more to be done and we want the UK Government to build on that first step they have taken.”

The report was published after the ruling by the European Court of Justice on the Scottish Government plans to impose minimum pricing on alcohol – that ruling said such a move would be illegal under EU law.