Whisky gives £100m boost to Treasury coffers

SALES of whisky in the UK have helped give a boost of more than £100m to the public purse, latest figures reveal.

Cheers! A dram of whisky to toast the festive season
Cheers! A dram of whisky to toast the festive season

In the 12 months to the end of October this year, the Treasury secured an additional £101m from spirits duty – including the tax consumers pay on a bottle of Scotch Whisky.

The increase should give Chancellor Philip Hammond some Christmas cheer over the festive period. In total, the spirits industry, including Scotch Whisky, contributes around £3.2 billion a year to the Treasury in duty.

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This figure has grown since the Government decided to end the policy of increasing excise by inflation plus an additional two percent - the alcohol duty escalator - in 2014.

The industry was given a further boost in 2015 when the Chancellor cut duty paid on Scotch Whisky, and all spirits, by two per cent. Over the next 12 months spirits revenues increased by £123m. And in this year’s Budget excise on spirits was frozen.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said that recent Government moves to ease punitive tax rates benefited both consumers and taxpayers.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the SWA, said: “Scotch is one of the UK’s most important industries, supporting around 40,000 jobs and contributing £5 billion to the economy each year.

“Government support for industry helps to give small businesses, as well as larger producers, confidence in the future.”