Carmichael renews calls for spirits duty rethink and industry support ahead of Autumn Statement

3 Nov 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called for a rethink from the Treasury on spirits duty ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Writing in this week, Mr Carmichael called for a more long term approach to boosting tax take from spirits like whisky and gin, which generate quality jobs in rural and island communities in Scotland, by encouraging growth in the sector. The Scotch whisky sector employs over 11,000 people, with 7,000 of these roles in rural areas.

Mr Carmichael previously tabled an amendment to prevent the government’s 10.1% duty hike on spirits this summer, with the support of the Scotch Whisky Association and other industry bodies.

Mr Carmichael said:

“I suspect that more than a few working in our politics could learn a lesson or two from our distillers’ more long-term approach.

Support for the whisky industry is as good a way as you could wish for to ensure strong tax receipts for years to come. When I was in government we worked to deliver a duty cut on spirits. Far from reducing income to the Treasury, we saw tax receipts go up due to increased growth.

“Recent decisions by the government have taken the golden goose for granted. In a rush to fill short-term coffers, ministers are neglecting long-term economic stability and growth for our flagship industries.

“It is vital that the government reflects on its approach and rethinks its tax hikes rather than doubling down with more. The Scotch whisky industry offers a blueprint for success that the government should not ignore but imitate – focusing on long-term goals and investing in the community.”