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12 March 2008

Stevenson Comments On UK Budgets Poor Deal For Whisky Industry

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has commented on Alistair
Darling’s announcement in today’s Budget of an increase in
spirits duty of 59 pence – equivalent to a 9% duty rise.

Mr. Stevenson has accused the UK Chancellor of damaging
Scotland’s economy by this tax hike in a bid to prop up UK
finances. The increase in whisky duty is higher than that of
white spirits, further compounding the discrimination against
the industry.

Commenting, Mr. Stevenson said:

"This duty rise comes as a severe blow to the whisky industry
in Scotland. The whisky sector is one of Scotland's key
industries both in export, earnings and employment terms.

“Today the UK Government should have set a budget which tackled
binge drinking by distinguishing between products and making
the tax system fairer, but instead Alistair Darling has chosen
to clobber one of Scotland’s premier products.

“The whisky industry supports and sustains many fragile rural
economies and acts as an emblem for Scotland the world over.
Despite all this the industry does not receive fair tax
treatment, and today’s announcement does nothing to support the
whisky industry or tackle binge drinking.

"This is particularly disappointing coming at a time when the
new confidence and optimism felt by the industry has seen
Glenglassaugh Distillery at Portsoy set to re-open after being
mothballed for 20 years.

“Rather than promote and bolster one of our key industries, the
UK Government has delivered a truly dismal deal for the
Scottish whisky sector. I can assure my constituents that, at
a time when it needs all the help it can get, I will do all in
my power to support the whisky industry in Banff & Buchan.”

Stewart Stevenson
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