SWA ramps up calls to cut UK spirits duty ahead of Budget

12th October, 2017 by Lauren Eads

Demand for Scotch whisky has fallen by one million bottles in the UK since Chancellor Philip Hammond increased spirits tax in his March Budget, says the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), proving the need for a cut in the November Budget.

The SWA launched its Drop the Dram Duty Campaign in July to urge Ministers to support the scrapping of what it calls an 80% ‘supertax’ on Scotch and a cut on spirits duty.

It followed the disappointing 2017 Spring Budget, which instead of a cut saw spirits duty rise with inflation, piling on more tax.

With the November Budget now fast approaching, the SWA has pointed toward official HMRC figures to back up its calls for a cut on spirits duty, stating that 36.7 million bottles were released for sale in the first six months of 2017 – down from 37.7 million in the same period last year.

The 2.6% fall follows the Chancellor’s decision to increase spirits duty in the spring Budget with inflation by 3.9%, meaning tax now makes up 80% of the cost of a bottle of Scotch.

An average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky is £12.77. Of this total, excise duty is £8.05 and VAT is £2.13, with a total of £10.18 going straight to the Treasury, while the value of the liquid accounts for just £2.59.

The trade body has also pointed out that the tax revenue generated from spirits sales in the UK has actually fallen since Philip Hammond’s spring increase – meaning less money for the Treasury.

Spirits revenue was down more than 7% in the first financial quarter of 2017/18 to £697 million from £751m in the same period from April to the end of June the previous year, according to the SWA.

In contrast, a 2% cut in 2015 saw spirits revenue rise by 4% – giving a £124 million boost to the Treasury – while a freeze in 2016 led to a revenue increase of more than 7% – a boost of £229m.

“Philip Hammond’s damaging 3.9% spirits duty hike has hit UK demand for Scotch and seen less money going to the Treasury,” added Karen Betts, SWA chief executive.

“The Chancellor should use his November Budget to Drop The Dram Duty and boost a great British success story. Cutting tax would send a strong signal that the Government believes in a world-famous UK manufacturing industry which supports 40,000 jobs and plays a key role in Scotland’s economy.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

Events and Trips Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
East Scotland, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 21st October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more