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Published:  23 July, 2008

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and the Gin and Vodka Association (GVA) have followed the Wine and Spirit Association (WSA) in making a direct plea to the Treasury to reduce taxation on spirits. Both groups argue that the tax is so high that a cut could boost both the government's coffers, through increased purchases, and the industry itself. Resuming the policy of reducing tax against spirits would be a win-win situation,' said Ian Good, chairman of the SWA. Recent budget freezes have stabilised the Scotch market, but official estimates suggest that a cut in the duty could boost revenue. We are not looking for a tax advantage, just equality of opportunity.' Tony Mair, chairman of the GVA, said the tax burden on spirits in the off-trade is now at its highest for 11 years, at around 75% of the price of the average bottle. Both groups met John Healey MP, economic secretary to the Treasury, last week to put forward their claims. The 2003 Budget provides the Chancellor with an opportuntiy to support a home-grown industry that makes a substantial contribution to the balance of trade and supports some 65,000 jobs across the country,' said Good.