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25 November 2008

STEVENSON’S ANGER AS WHISKY INDUSTRY IS RAIDED BY WESTMINSTER AGAIN

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has condemned the announcement, hidden in the footnotes of Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report, that whisky duties are due to rise for the second time this year. Even after the fall in VAT is factored in, the 8% rise in duty means that the Treasury’s take on the average 70cl bottle has risen by 29p from £7.42 to £7.71.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“The Whisky sector is vital to the Scottish economy, and for Alistair Darling to bury his tax hike in the footnotes of his report without even mentioning it in his speech is an insult to an industry that has already been targeted by the Treasury this year.

“The budget in March already saw a 9% increase on the duty which led to a £40 million fall in alcohol revenues. Why he thinks that this latest increase will have the opposite effect, and raise more money for the Treasury, is beyond me. Taken together, duty has risen by 80p on the average bottle making this the biggest one-year increase in alcohol duty since 1974-75.

“The Whisky industry is one that is growing, as witnessed by the reopening of Glenglassaugh distillery in Portsoy, but the UK market is a fragile one. Rather than punishing success, the Treasury should be supporting an industry that is vital to Scotland’s economy.

Stewart Stevenson
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