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Whisky taxes ‘far too high’ say Scots

Whisky barrels. The majority of Scots believe taxes on whisky are too high, says industry research. Picture: TSPL

Whisky barrels. The majority of Scots believe taxes on whisky are too high, says industry research. Picture: TSPL

  • by JANE BRADLEY
 

MORE than three quarters of Scots believe that planned tax increases on a bottle of Scotch whisky are too high, the drink’s industry body has claimed.

A study carried out by the Scotch Whisky Association found that two-thirds of people UK-wide also agree that the planned duty hike is too much.

Currently, 79 per cent of the price of an ­average bottle of Scotch whisky is made up of duty and VAT.

If the alcohol duty escalator were implemented again at Wednesday’s Budget, this would go up to 81 per cent – more than £4 of every £5 spent on Scotch.

The escalator, introduced in 2008, automatically increases duty on wine and spirits by inflation plus 2 per cent.

Consumers are also calling on the government to give the hospitality industry a wider breadth of help – with 86 per cent of Scots agreeing more should be done. Recent independent research from Ernst & Young found the industry as a whole supported 475,000 jobs in 2012.

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: “We urge the Chancellor to listen to that large majority of the population who believe the alcohol duty escalator is simply unfair to a major Scottish, and British, industry.

“People are still under financial pressure and scrapping the escalator and freezing duty would help ease some of that pain.”

 

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