UK Scotch sales fall

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock/donifiore
iStock/donifiore
UK sales of Scotch whisky in the UK decreased by 1 million bottles in the first six months of 2017, with the industry attributing the fall to an increased spirits tax.

Figures from HMRC (HM Revenue and Customers) figures show 36.7 million bottles were released for sale in the first six months of 2017: which is down from 37.7 million in the same period last year.

“The 2.6% fall follows the Chancellor's decision to increase spirits duty in the spring Budget by an inflation-busting 3.9%, meaning tax now makes up an astonishing 80% of the cost of a bottle of Scotch,”​ says the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the trade body for the industry. “Of an average bottle sold at £12.77, more than £10 goes straight to the Treasury.

The SWA has launched a ‘Drop the Dram Duty’ campaign ahead of the November Budget.

"Cutting tax would send a strong signal that the Government believes in a world-famous UK manufacturing industry which supports 40,000 jobs and plays a key role in Scotland's economy,"​ says the SWA.

It adds that the tax taken from spirits has actually fallen since the tax increase: spirits revenue was down more than 7% in the first financial quarter of 2017/18 to £697 million, from £751m in the same period from April to the end of June the previous year.

In contrast, a 2% cut in duty in 2015 saw spirits revenue rise by 4%.  

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