Most Scots Think Scotch Tax Too High

Are taxes on scotch whiskey too high?

A majority of Scottish citizens would seem to believe so.

In a poll conducted on behalf of, and then released by, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), 92% of Scots said that they considered the current tax paid on an average priced bottle of whisky in the UK to be “unfair.”

Additionally, 85% of the wider British public surveyed agree. Women in particular — 90% of those polled — believed that tax levels were unfair.

More than three quarters of the price of a bottle of scotch (76%) is tax paid to the government in excise duty and value-added tax, according to the SWA. Drinkers currently pay an estimated tax of about $14.50 on every scotch bottle they buy.

“As well as being unfair to consumers, the industry believes that the onerous level of tax is damaging to the economy,” the SWA said in a press release. “The SWA says that if less tax was levied, more jobs could be safeguarded and smaller businesses could flourish.”

Last year, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne cut the rate of spirits duty for the first time in almost 20 years — by two per cent. The SWA believes that was a good start.

“The bold move by George Osborne . . . gave a boost to our 117 Scotch Whisky distilleries and across our UK supply chain,” said David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, in a press release. “But that was the first cut in spirits duty in almost 20 years and was only the fifth time that tax on whisky has ever been cut since distilling became legal in 1832.”


“So there’s more to be done and we want the UK Government to build on that first step they’ve taken,” he added.


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