Plastic Mac Darling obviously cares not a jot for the Scotch Whisky industry and the thousands of people employed therein. By pushing up the price of a bottle of whisky he will damage sales which leads to less profitability and subsequently to the possibility of workers being laid off.
He wilfully ignored the lobbying of many Scottish MPs and the Scotch Whisky Association who recently met with Exchequer Secretary Angela Eagle MP. Speaking before the meeting Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of the SWA, said:
“The Government has recognised the benefits of a fairer alcohol duty policy in recent years and we will be urging the Minister to maintain that welcome policy by freezing spirits duty in the March
“The Budget is always a pivotal date in our calendar but this year’s Budget comes at a time when the industry is facing rising input and energy costs. Spirits duty stability boosts competitiveness and has helped distillers to invest heavily in their operations and supply chain across Scotland, benefiting the wider economy and ensuring Scotch Whisky is well placed as new opportunities develop in the highly competitive international market.
“Calls for higher duties to tackle alcohol misuse are misplaced. We are working with government to promote responsible attitudes to alcohol and agree with the Treasury’s long held view, repeated at the weekend, that duty rises are not the way to tackle a minority’s irresponsible drinking.”
It's interesting to note that excise duty accounts for around 72% of the cost of a bottle of blended whisky. A half pint of beer, a 125ml glass of wine and a 35ml measure of whisky all contain roughly the same amount of alcohol. The duty on the beer is 19.2p, the wine 22.2p and the whisky 27.4p and that was before the budget.
Darling is an embarrassment to Scotland.