The UK government’s alcohol tax rise is “squeezing the life out of Scotland’s whisky industry”, the SNP has warned.
It follows Rishi Sunak’s decision to increase the tax on wines and spirits which will disproportionately impact the Scottish whisky industry.
Scotch whisky is the world’s number one internationally traded spirit, with exports reaching £6.2billion in 2022 – accounting for 25% of all UK food and drink exports, 77% of Scottish food and drink exports, and supporting more than 10,000 jobs in Scotland.
Brendan O’Hara MP and Richard Lochhead MSP – who represents Speyside where over 50% of scotch is distilled – have both expressed their dismay at the decision, saying the industry is being “disproportionately impacted by a UK government Scotland did not vote for”.
Commenting, Brendan O’Hara MP said:
“The UK government are squeezing the life out of Scotland’s whisky industry, which plays a significant role not just in my constituency, but for the bank balance of the UK Treasury.
“Scotch whisky is the world’s biggest international traded spirit, which has been filling the UK government’s coffers for decades.
“And yet, despite all the effort from rural communities and islands across Scotland, they continue to be hammered by a government they did not vote for.
“Scotland’s whisky producing, rural and island communities have been the goose laying the UK government’s golden eggs for too long – it’s time they were properly rewarded for the enormous contribution they’ve made.”
Richard Lochhead MSP also said:
“We are once again seeing Scotland’s famous whisky industry being disproportionately impacted by a UK government Scotland did not vote for.
“Time and time again, it’s communities that I represent that deliver colossal sums of money to the UK economy that are being put at a competitive disadvantage.
“This issue has been raised not just with UK government ministers, but with the Prime Minister directly. However, he seems determined to ignore these very legitimate concerns.
“Only with the full powers of independence can we harness the full potential of Scotland’s whisky industry – and support our wonderful communities who deliver huge sums of money to our economy.”