Almost three-quarters back call for tax on whisky to be same as EU levels

11 September 2018, 07:38

Whisky

More than 70% of of Scots believe UK tax on Scotch whisky should be at least as competitive as the EU average, according to a new poll.

 Excise duty on spirits in the UK is 76% higher than the EU average, at £28.74 per litre of pure alcohol, compared to £16.31 in the EU.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said currently £3 in every £4 spent on an average-priced bottle of Scotch in the UK is tax.

In a Survation poll commissioned by the SWA, 72% of the 1,040 adults in Scotland surveyed agreed that as UK trading relationships with EU countries change through Brexit, tax on Scotch whisky in the UK should be at least as competitive as the EU average.

A total of 17% were neutral while 5% disagreed and the remainder said they did not know.

More than half (57%) of respondents said the UK Government should do more to support the Scotch whisky industry, which is responsible for a fifth of all UK food and drink exports, worth more than £4 billion a year.

Meanwhile, more than a third (38%) believe it is already doing enough and 5% thought it should do less.

The findings of the poll, carried out between August 29 and September 3, come as the SWA calls for a continued freeze on spirit duty in the Autumn Budget.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: "It is inconceivable France would hamstring its wine industry through heavy taxation.

"Yet despite Scotch whisky generating billions in revenue for the economy, employing thousands of people and attracting millions of tourists every year, it remains among the most taxed food and drink products in Europe.

"That is why we are calling on the Chancellor to continue to freeze duty on spirits in this year's Budget.

"The evidence shows that a continued freeze would not only deliver greater revenue for the Treasury, but also help to support an industry that has invested more than £500 million in capital projects over the last five years."