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Chancellor under pressure from within own party to cut whisky duty

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is pressing the Chancellor to cut whisky duty by 2%.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is pressing the Chancellor to cut whisky duty by 2%.

Chancellor George Osborne is coming under pressure from within his own party to cut the tax on whisky.

With 78% of the price of a bottle made up on tax, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is calling for a 2% cut in next week’s budget.

Campaigners, led by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) estimated that a 2% cut in duty would generate an additional £1.5billion to the Treasury through increased investment across the industry, greater income from corporation tax and VAT, and from the benefits of jobs created in pubs, bars, restaurants, shops and the wider supply chain.

While last year’s duty freeze was welcomed, the SWA has calculated that between January and November 2014, clearances from bond Scotch whisky were down 4% year on year – a loss of 3million bottles.

Ms Davidson said: “I’m glad the Chancellor listened to the whisky industry last year and froze spirits duty. It was the right move and worked well, but I think there’s more that could be done to boost exports.

“We saw a cut in beer-duty resulting in an increase in receipts and the same could work for Scotland’s spirit producers.

“I have already written to the Chancellor on this issue and I’ll continue to press the case hard ahead of the budget.”

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