On Air Now
Early Breakfast with Zoe Hardman 4am - 6:30am
13 March 2015, 06:00
The UK market for Scotch whisky shrunk by almost 5% last year, new figures have shown.
The number of 70cl bottles released for sale fell from 87.5 million in 2013 to 83.3 million, according to figures from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
They were released by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which is campaigning for a cut in spirits duty.
SWA officials want Chancellor George Osborne to announce a 2% tax cut in his Budget statement next Wednesday, following a freeze on duty last year.
The trade body said the domestic market has contracted by 9.5% since 2009, down from 92 million bottles.
It attributes the drop to "onerous'' levels of taxation, amounting to 78% as a share of the price of an average bottle.
SWA chief executive David Frost said: "Scotch whisky is a massive export success for the UK, so it's obviously disappointing to see this decline in volumes in our domestic market.
"In next week's Budget the Chancellor has the perfect opportunity to support an important UK industry. He should cut spirits duty by 2%. This move would also benefit consumers and public finances.
"In last year's Budget, the Chancellor highlighted Scotch whisky as a 'huge British success story'. We hope this year too he will show his support for this world-class manufacturing industry.''