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SWA survey finds huge public support for cut in UK whisky tax

Published:  04 January, 2016

British consumers are overwhelmingly in favour of a cut in the tax on a bottle of Scotch, according to a new survey sponsored by the Scottish Whisky Association.

Just 15% of Brits thought the current levy on Scotch was acceptable, with a mere 8% of Scots sharing the sentiment.

Women were less disposed than men to view the tax favourably, with only 10% supporting the status quo nationally.

At present, some 76% of the retail price of Scottish whisky is comprised of excise duty and VAT, equating to £9.91 on an averagely priced bottle.

The SWA argues that such a punitive level of taxation is both unfair to consumers and damaging to the economy.

David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "Thousands of Scots celebrate Hogmanay with the traditional glass of Scotch. But almost all of them clearly believe it is wrong that 76% of the price of a bottle of whisky goes straight to the Treasury.

"We agree that's unfair too.

"The bold move by George Osborne in last year's Budget to cut excise duty by 2% gave a boost to our 117 Scotch whisky distilleries and across our UK supply chain.

"But 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.

"So there's more to be done and we want the UK Government to build on that first step they've taken.

"It's an exciting time for an iconic Scottish and British industry that is the envy of the world, an industry that creates jobs but also supports thousands of people who work in hospitality, retail and logistics industries the length and breadth of the UK."

The Scottish whisky industry generates some £5 billion annually.

It contributes 10,000 jobs to the national economy directly and a further 40,000 indirectly.