Whisky industry in tax plea over alcohol duty freeze

Whisky industry in tax plea over alcohol duty freeze


Scotch and spirit drinkers will pay more than £200 in excise duty this year – compared to £60 if they choose cider. Those drinking Scotch within the Chief Medical Officers’ guidance on responsible alcohol consumption of 14 units a week will pay up to £211.12 in excise duty alone – compared to £174.72 for wine and just £58.76 for cider drinkers.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) urged the Chancellor to extend the freeze on alcohol duty beyond August 1.

It has also called on Jeremy Hunt to rule out any changes to a new alcohol taxation system, which comes into force in the summer.

Mark Kent, chief executive of the SWA, said: “A unit of alcohol is a unit of alcohol, whether it’s in a pint of beer or cider, a glass of wine, or a dram of Scotch. 

“Responsible consumers are already being penalised if their drink of choice is a spirit or cocktail, and we would urge the Chancellor not to make this worse by announcing an increase in excise duty in the Budget.

“Spirits like Scotch make up a third of alcohol sales in pubs, restaurants and bars. If the Chancellor chooses to increase the competitive disadvantage distillers already face, he will also risk eating into the revenues of a hospitality sector devastated by the pandemic and the rising cost of living.”

Any increase in duty on Scotch and spirits will damage pub and bar revenues, where spirits represent 34 percent of all alcohol sales, the SWA warned.

UK excise duty on Scotch and spirits is already the highest in the G7 countries, with 70 percent of the cost of a bottle claimed by the taxman.

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