UK: SWA attacks bid for extra tax on Scotch whisky

By | 9 January 2013

The proposal for an extra tax on Scotch has been criticised by the SWA

The proposal for an extra tax on Scotch has been criticised by the SWA

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has branded a proposal to bring in an extra tax on the drink as “ludicrous”. 

A so-called “tartan tax” would bring in an extra GBP1bn (US$1.6bn) for the Scottish Government, according to two senior advisers to the ruling Scottish National Party. One of the advisers, Sir George Mathewson, was reported as saying: “I don’t believe it [the industry] would be substantially harmed and I believe that the success could be spread around a little more.” 

However, Gavin Hewitt, the SWA's chief executive, said: “It is a ludicrous suggestion that Scotch Whisky, one of Scotland’s few economic success stories, should be burdened with additional taxation.” 

He said that any new tax would be passed on to consumers, thereby cutting demand, stifling growth and new capital investment in Scotland. 

Figures released last week showed that the country's whisky industry generates annual export sales in the region of GBP4bn (US$6.5bn)

Hewitt added: “Why would a government looking for export-led recovery penalise Scotch Whisky, its biggest export?  It shows economic naiveté about the industry.” 

Expert analysis

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Sectors: Spirits

Companies: SWA

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