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Scotch whisky marks today as ‘Duty Paid Day.’

Published:  27 September, 2018

Scotch whisky producers have marked today as ‘Duty Paid Day.’

According to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) today (Thursday 27th September), marks the 270th day of the calendar year and the first day that consumers of Scotch Whisky have theoretically paid off excise duty and VAT on Scotch sold in the UK during 2018.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of the cost of an average priced bottle of Scotch is being collected in duty and VAT, said the SWA. It added that Scotland’s national drink is already one of the highest taxed consumer goods in the UK – more than any other alcoholic product.

The SWA said distillers fear that the Chancellor is set to hike taxes again in the Autumn Budget, which would further reduce its domestic competitiveness and risk the future success of the spirit.

“Under the current excise and VAT rates, £3 in every £4 spent on Scotch Whisky in the UK goes directly to the Treasury in tax. To look at this figure differently, it has taken 270 days to pay off the 74% tax burden on the average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky in the UK,” said SWA chief executive Karen Betts.

“Tax on Scotch is unsustainable – it has hit a ceiling and cannot reasonably rise any further. An increase in the tax burden would inhibit investment and undermine future growth.”

She urged the Chancellor to signal his support for Scotland’s national drink by continuing the freeze on duty he announced last year.

“This would be a strong signal of support for an industry which wants to continue to have the flexibility to invest in the future as a dynamic job-creator, a great employer, and a stand-out exporter,” she said.

The trade association said that Scotch Whisky is a vitally important industry for Scotland and the UK, supporting over 10,000 jobs directly, over 40,000 jobs in its supply chain, and generating exports to 180 markets worth more than £4 billion.

Its figures said that the 74% tax (VAT and excise duty) on Scotch Whisky is based on an average selling price of £14.15 for a 70cl bottle (as at June 2018) in the off-trade. Of that, excise forms £8.05 and VAT forms £2.36 with total tax on a bottle at £10.41.