Drinks call

Hunt urged to reinstate freeze on alcohol duty

Tomatin whisky
Whisky distillers want the Chancellor to act

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been urged to reinstate the freeze on alcohol duty to ease the cost pressures facing the Scotch Whisky industry.

SNP MSP Emma Roddick has written to the Chancellor urging him to stand by the decision made by his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng.

The food and drink sector, including the Scotch Whisky Association, has already expressed concern about plans to allow duties to rise.

Ms Roddick said: “Scotland’s food and drink sector has already faced sky-rocketing costs.

“Scrapping plans to freeze alcohol duty will just put more pressure on the costs incurred by firms.

“These costs are then passed on to the consumers as the price at which bars and restaurants buy products increases.

“Our food and drink sector is world-renowned and is a vital part of the Scottish economy, contributing £3.6bn and employing 47,000 people, more than a quarter of the manufacturing workforce in Scotland.

“Increasing their costs even further could put the industry at risk and thousands of jobs too, that is why I have written to the Chancellor to urge him to reverse plans to scrap the freeze on alcohol duty.”

One UK government source pointed out that the SNP government introduced minimum unit pricing which forced up the price of drinks and which the Scotch Whisky Association opposed as the wrong way to tackle alcohol abuse.

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