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Chancellor Slams Whisky Industry With Tax Hike

March 15, 2023 – The Scotch Whisky Association’s pleas for a freeze on excise duty fell on deaf ears, as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s new budget calls for a 10.1% increase in duty on whisky and other distilled spirits. Hunt’s budget plans a tax increase in line with inflation effective August 1 for all four alcohol categories (distilled spirits, wine, beer, and cider), with relief being offered for on-draught products sold at bars and restaurants.

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, the duty rate on spirits will rise to £31.64 per liter of pure alcohol, raising the tax burden on an average bottle of whisky from 70% to 75%.

SWA Chief Executive Mark Kent blasted what he calls a historic blow to the whisky industry.

“We have been clear with the UK Government that increasing duty would be the wrong decision at the wrong time, so it is deeply disappointing that one of Scotland’s largest and longest-standing industries has been treated in this way. The industry continues to grapple with significant domestic headwinds, including the soaring cost of energy, intense pressure on the hospitality sector, and increasing regulatory burdens like the Deposit Return Scheme. This tax hike just adds to the pressures on the sector and breaks the UK government’s commitment to support Scotch,” he said in a statement. 

Kent called on members of Parliament to reject the “unjustifiable” tax hike when they vote on the Finance Bill later this spring.

Links: Scotch Whisky Association