Distillers Serve Up A £101m Christmas Bonus For The Treasury

whiskey– But tax on Scotch still unfair at 77% a bottle –

WHISKY sales in the UK have helped give a boost of more than £100 million to the public purse, latest figures reveal.

In the 12 months to the end of October this year, the Treasury secured an additional £101m from spirits duty* – including the tax consumers pay on a bottle of Scotch Whisky.

The increase should give Chancellor Philip Hammond some Christmas cheer over the festive period.

In total, the spirits industry, including Scotch Whisky, contributes around £3.2 billion a year to the Treasury in duty.

This figure has grown since the Government decided to end the policy of increasing excise by inflation plus an additional two percent – the alcohol duty escalator – in 2014.

The industry was given a further boost in 2015 when the Chancellor cut duty paid on Scotch Whisky, and all spirits, by 2 per cent. Over the next 12 months spirits revenues increased by £123m. And in this year’s Budget excise on spirits was frozen. Receipts from spirits duty are now £155m higher per annum than before the escalator was scrapped.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) says the latest good news figures for the iconic British industry show that recent Government moves to ease punitive tax rates benefited both consumers and taxpayers.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the SWA, said: “Easing the duty regime on Scotch Whisky has helped customers, businesses and taxpayers. The boost to public funds is the result of a successful policy.

“Scotch is one of the UK’s most important industries, supporting around 40,000 jobs and contributing £5 billion to the economy each year. Government support for industry helps to give small businesses, as well as larger producers, confidence in the future.”

However, the SWA believes that despite the promising signs of recent years, more is required – particularly during a period of pre-Brexit uncertainty. More than three quarters – 77% – of the average price paid for a bottle of whisky is tax – excise and Vat**.

Ms Hesketh-Laird added: “The current tax rates remain unfair and we believe that there is  an opportunity for the Chancellor to bring cheer to consumers and boost the Treasury’s coffers next year.

“This Christmas and New Year we hope that the Chancellor raises a glass to the Scotch Whisky industry.”