BBC News – Scotch whisky ‘more productive’ than energy sector

April 30, 2019

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has released figures suggesting whisky workers are worth more to the economy than those in the energy sector.


It calculated that each employee in the whisky industry generates £210,505 of activity.


The equivalent for the energy industry was said to be £173,511.


The research, based on work by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, found whisky to be worth a total of £5.5bn to the UK economy.


Between 2016 and 2018, the value of the whisky industry increased by 10%.


SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: “Despite the challenges of Brexit, this investment continues to flow, with further projects planned and more distilleries set to open – a sign that the Scotch Whisky industry remains confident about the future.


“This is great news for our many employees, our investors, our supply chain and, of course, for consumers all over the world who love Scotch.”


The industry continues to lobby for lower tax rates on whisky in the UK.


Ms Betts added: “In the US, Scotch and other whiskies are taxed at just 27% of the rate that HM Treasury taxes us here at home.


“We will continue to press the chancellor for fairer treatment for Scotch whisky in our domestic market, which reflects the vital economic contribution the industry makes to the UK economy every day.”


Key findings in the SWA research – based on the year 2018 – include:

  • Scotch whisky contributed 21% to the value of all UK food and drink exports
  • Exports were worth £4.7bn
  • The industry supports 42,000 jobs, including 10,500 directly employed in Scotland and 7,000 in rural areas
  • UK spirits excise duty receipts accounted for £3.8bn


Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “I welcome the contribution that the Scotch whisky industry makes to the Scottish economy.


“The industry’s performance is testament to the hard work of those who work in this important sector, making Scotch whisky one of Scotland’s greatest global exports.”


The UK’s exchequer secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick MP said the government had already eased the tax burden on the industry.


“I’m delighted to see how this important sector is thriving,” he added.


“We are supporting the Scotch whisky success story by freezing duty on spirits again this year.


“Our record of reductions and freezes to alcohol duties have provided more than £4bn of support to the drinks sector here in the UK.”