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Scotch trade pushes for tax cut

The Scotch Whisky Association has met British Treasury officials this week to call for a 2% cut in spirits duty.

It has put forward the case for a cut in spirits, citing the burden on the industry caused by having 76% of the price of an average bottle of Scotch going on tax.

Meeting Treasury exchequer secretary Damian Hinds MP on Tuesday, the SWA called for the government to “stand up for Scotch” and repeat last year’s 2% duty cut.

In an encouraging sign for the trade, David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, described the meeting as “constructive”.

“We hope the Government will build on last year’s decision by once again cutting excise by 2% and helping to reduce from the current onerous 76% the tax take on an average priced bottle of Scotch,” he said.

“We would like to see fair tax for whisky and we’re asking the government to stand up for Scotch.”

In its submission to the Treasury, the SWA highlighted evidence that shows Scotch drinkers pay 51% more duty than beer drinkers in the UK on the same amount of alcohol, and 27% more than wine drinkers.

A Censuswide poll of over 1,000 people commissioned by the SWA in December showed that three quarters of the British public support a cut in Beer duty.

“We explained how a reduction in excise in next month’s Budget would support public finances, promote investment and jobs across the UK and continue the progress made towards fairer tax for one of the UK’s most iconic and successful industries,” said Frost.

In short, when unnecessarily heavy tax is cut, revenues actually go up, and consumer and industry confidence is boosted.”

The government will publish its next Budget on Wednesday 16 March.

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