LEADING POLITICIANS IN MORAY are showing a united front against the decision of the Chancellor to increase duty on Whisky in his budget this week.
Following on from our report yesterday that Tory MSP Douglas Ross was unhappy with the duty increase at a time when the industry was calling on a reduction, the SNP’s Angus Robertson MP and Richard Lochhead MSP joined in showing their displeasure.
The latest increase means that for every bottle of whisky purchased 79% of the price paid will go to the exchequer – making the key Moray and Speyside industry, according to Mr Robertson, a “cash cow” for the Chancellor.
Mr Lochhead, meanwhile, said that it was simply “appalling” that the whisky sector was being targeted again – at the very stage where it was making massive investment that itself will ensure a substantial income for the Treasury.
Mr Roberson said: “The Tories are persistently and unfairly targeting the Scotch Whisky Industry with year on year tax rises. This key Moray industry is being treated as the Chancellor’s cash cow.
“Incredibly excise duty on whisky is now 21 percent higher than it was in 2010 and it seems that this vital industry for Moray is being used to prop up continued austerity budgets. This is a totally unacceptable situation for a sector that supports literally thousands of jobs in Moray and the SNP will oppose these Tory budget plans.”
Mr Lochhead added: “While the Scottish Government is supporting our vital food and drink sector with investment support the Tories at Westminster seem determined to hit the whisky industry ever harder with tax at a time when the industry is investing in the future.
“These whisky tax rises are appalling. You’d think the Chancellor would be better off supporting the huge investment being made by major brands like Macallan, which will undoubtedly result in substantial income for the treasury in future years, but instead he seems intent on undermining these efforts.
“Whisky production accounts for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Moray alone, from agriculture to maltings to mechanical and electrical engineering on top of the jobs in the distilleries themselves. This latest increase is simply a tax on Moray.”