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GMB Reiterates Call To Protect Whisky Industry

Thursday, March 9, 2017

GMB Reiterates Call To Protect Whisky Industry Amid Brexit Fears And Industry Tax Warning

GMB Scotland has today (Thursday 9 March) reiterated its call for the UK Government to bring forward protective measures for the whisky industry against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty and a 3.9 per cent increase in alcohol duty in yesterday’s budget.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) described the measures brought forward by Chancellor Phillip Hammond as “a blow to a vital UK industry” and called for a fundamental review of the alcohol duty system ahead of the autumn budget.

Last month, GMB Scotland wrote to Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell MP calling for the UK government to bring forward protective measures for the £5 billion whisky industry that mirrored the guarantees given to car manufacturing giant Nissan in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The whisky industry directly supports over 40,000 jobs and has a remarkable multiplier effect where 1 whisky job supports nearly 3 more jobs in the wider economy - 7,000 of these jobs are in rural communities where decent work is often hard to find.

GMB Scotland Organiser Louise Gilmour said: “We’re now seeing real evidence of the Brexit bind in which the Tories have put workers across the country and every economic decision now taken by the UK government is akin to walking a tightrope.

Our immediate concern is that the whisky industry might seek to recover the cost of these tax rises off the back of our members terms and conditions and GMB Scotland would strongly oppose this, make no mistake about it.

Hugely profitable industries should pay their fair share of tax to the Treasury, that’s not up for debate, but the UK government also needs to ensure that it doesn’t pursue policies which end up causing even more economic and employment uncertainty.

The Scottish and wider UK economy simply cannot do without the contribution of whisky.

That’s why Phillip Hammond now needs to bring forward protective measures for our whisky industry, similar to what it has delivered for the car manufacturing industry in Sunderland, to ensure the £5 billion it generates and 40,000 jobs it directly supports are still here in five years time.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser Louise Gilmour on 07921 289739 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.