SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon Macdonald, has condemned the Tories for choosing to increase whisky duty in the recent Budget, which is set to harm distillers across the Lothians.
The tax on a bottle of whisky will now be 79%, and comes at a time when the Tory government is already threatening the whisky industry’s ability to export due to their plans for a damaging hard Brexit outside the single market.
Scotland’s distilleries have experienced a boom in recent years due to diversification beyond whisky and increased exports– Gordon Macdonald MSP has said that it is unacceptable to see Westminster attempting a cash grab on distilleries.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon Macdonald said, “The Tory budget yesterday was deeply disappointing and is nothing more than an attempt to use Scotland’s whisky and distilling industry to plug the budgetary black hole caused by Tory austerity and the hard Brexit that is coming down the line.
“While the Scottish Government is making every effort to support our food and drink sector, the Tories at Westminster are determined to hit the industry ever harder with tax at a time when the industry is investing in the future – with excise duty on whisky now 21% higher than in 2010.
“Distilleries are vital to the local economy and create important jobs for our surrounding communities.
“To see the Tories put this under threat, firstly by increasing taxes on the sector yet again, and secondly by pursuing a damaging hard Brexit, is completely unacceptable and something that the SNP will fight at every opportunity.”
Analysis by the Scotch Whisky Association states: -
• Scotch in the UK is now taxed more than 80% higher than the EU spirits tax average.
• Scotch would face an extra £31 million excise bill in the UK on the basis of 2016 volumes.
• The tax burden on an average priced bottle of Scotch will now be nearly 80%.
• The excise duty on Scotch is now 21% higher than in 2010.