Scotch industry meets Treasury to plead duty case

The case for cutting spirits duty was taken into the heart of Westminster today when the Scotch Whisky Association met Jane Ellison MP, financial secretary to the Treasury.

The SWA has been lobbying for a 2% tax cut under the Stand up for Scotch banner and met Ellison to discuss the pressures the industry currently faces.

On average 77% of the price of a bottle of Scotch goes on tax and the SWA argued it is unfair for spirits drinkers to pay more duty than beer and wine drinkers.

It presented stats showing that a 2% tax cut on spirits in 2015 caused spirits revenue to increase by £123 million to £3.15 billion, thus bolstering the economy and the Treasury’s coffers.

It is campaigning for a similar cut in the March Budget, and said that during a time of change created by Brexit the industry needs a supportive domestic tax environment.

David Williamson, public affairs director at the SWA, said: “We had a constructive discussion with the financial secretary, highlighting that a cut in excise is likely to increase spirits revenue to the government, as well as boost distillers, large and small. We hope the Government will listen to the evidence by cutting excise on spirits by 2% to grow the public finances and reduce the onerous 77% tax burden on Scotch. 

“A fair and competitive domestic tax environment is also an important part of the Brexit jigsaw, ensuring a strategically important industry like Scotch Whisky is well placed to invest and grow in the future.”

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