Tax cut for whisky would be most popular Budget measure - Carmichael

Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, used Treasury Questions in the House of Commons to urge the Government to announce a further tax cut to boost the growing Scotch whisky sector.


The cuts in alcohol duty announced in last year’s Budget have increased revenues by £190million since April 2015. Mr Carmichael wants the Government to use this month’s Budget to back an industry which supports thousands of jobs across Scotland the UK and is worth £5billion in gross value added to the UK economy.


Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael said:


Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (LD):

What assessment he has made of the effects on the economy of the reduction in duty on spirits announced in the 2015 Budget.[903821]

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Damian Hinds):

The 2% duty cut at the March Budget 2015 continues to support the 296,000 people across the sector, including such distilleries as Highland Park in the right hon. Gentleman’s Orkney and Shetland constituency.

Mr Carmichael:

The Minister will recall that, last year, the Red Book estimated that the cuts in alcohol duties would lead to a reduction of £185 million in revenue. In fact, from April 2015 through to January 2016, we have seen a £190 million increase in revenues. Will he therefore look very carefully at the request from the Scotch whisky industry for a further 2% cut in spirits duties this year?

Damian Hinds:

I know how much the sector values the cut in the duty—it was the first since 1996—and it is great to see the industry in good health, with the number of distilleries and exports to other parts of the world growing strongly. I have received representations from the Scotch Whisky Association among others in relation to the upcoming Budget.


Commenting afterwards, Mr Carmichael:

“The cut in whisky duty would bring in more money, create more jobs and be popular with voters. There will not be much in George Osborne’s Budget that will do all three of those things.”


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