THE BUDGET HELD at least one item that was by no means welcomed in Moray – including by local Conservative MSP, Douglas Ross.
Buried in the detail of Wednesday’s budget was an increase in the duty on beer, cider, wines and spirits – and that means 36p on a bottle of whisky, ignoring a plea by the Scotch Whisky Association who said that a reduction in duty would boost public finances.
Commenting on the decision last night, Mr Ross said he understood the blow it would deliver to the industry in his home region.
He said: “While there was a great deal in the budget which I was very happy with, particularly a further £350m for the Scottish Government, the increase in excise duty was very disappointing.
“Coming from Moray and representing the area in the Scottish Parliament I know how important this industry is locally and across the country. About half of all Scotch Whisky is produced in Moray so this announcement will cause considerable concern locally.
“I have been convinced of the very strong argument made by the Scotch Whisky Association and individual companies that reducing duty would actually boost public finances and this increase flies in the face of that argument.
“The Prime Minister was right to highlight the importance of the Scotch Whisky industry during her speech in Glasgow on Friday and I will be doing everything possible to support moves for a new approach to excise duty ahead of the Autumn Statement.”