Drinks

Scotch Whisky Association Urges Government To Reinstate Alcohol Duty Freeze

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The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has criticised the reversal of duty freeze on alcohol, announced in the UK mini-budget on 23 September, saying that it strips stability from the Scotch Whisky industry.

Chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, Mark Kent, commented, "Distillers are facing increasing economic headwinds and rising costs, the duty freeze offered much-needed support. We urgently need that commitment to be reinstated.”

Former UK finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced several tax-cutting measures last month in the UK mini budget, which included a freeze on alcohol duty from February 2023.

At that time, the Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the move saying that it would support the sector and save consumers £1.35 on the average priced bottle of Scotch whisky.

However, following the departure of Kwarteng, UK's new finance minister Jeremy Hunt announced the decision to reverse the move.

'Certainty And Stability'

Kent stated, "Business can only work on the basis of certainty and stability. That has been stripped from the Scotch Whisky industry following the chancellor’s decision to u-turn on the duty freeze for Scotch whisky announced just over two weeks ago."

“Time after time, duty freezes on spirits have increased government revenue contrary to what the treasury’s forecasts have predicted. The industry has been an economic anchor, even in times of volatility."

He added, “With the average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky already taxed at 70%, a double-digit rise in spirits duty will now seriously reduce the industry’s ability to support the UK economy through investment, job creation and rising revenue to the Treasury. It will add to pressures in the UK hospitality industry and household budgets as costs inevitably increase."

© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest drinks news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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