THE SCOTCH whisky industry could enjoy additional tax breaks – if the Scottish Conservatives get their way.
Ruth Davidson MSP has written a letter to Chancellor George Osborne, calling for an additional 2% tax cut on spirits in next week’s Budget.
Last year, the government froze spirits duty – a move welcomed by those in the drinks sector.
Tax constitutes nearly 80% of an average bottle of whisky, and research has suggested that a small cut would boost public finances by £1.1 billion.
The Scotch Whisky Association has calculated that between January and November, clearances from bond Scotch whisky were down 4% year on year – a loss of 3 million bottles.
The letter read: “As you are aware, tax constitutes nearly 80% of a bottle of an average priced bottle of whisky. Few other products face such a heavy burden.
“This is of particular concern, when the industry is facing headwinds both at home and abroad.
“The value of exports is down 7%. Given the importance of the industry to the Scottish economy, I believe there to be a compelling case for cutting excise duty by 2% on spirit drinks.
“In order to support jobs, increase investment and benefit customers it’s time to give the industry a further break.”
Ms Davidson added: “I’m glad the Chancellor listened to the whisky industry last year and froze spirits duty.
“It was the right move and worked well, but I think there’s more that could be done to boost exports.
“We saw a cut in beer-duty resulting in an increase in receipts and the same could work for Scotland’s spirit producers.
“I have already written to the Chancellor on this issue and I’ll continue to press the case hard ahead of the budget.”