The Scotch Whisky industry has launched a new manifesto to call for support from political parties, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) reports. With the Scottish Parliament elections approaching on the 6 May, the industry wants candidates to sign up to commitments on its six-point manifesto.
Whisky is Scotland’s biggest food and drink export, and the industry directly employs more than 10,500 people in Scotland. 7,000 of these workers live in rural areas where other types of employment may be scarce. The supply chain is worth over £1.8bn, and exports of Scotch Whisky were worth £3.8bn in 2020, despite the lockdown restrictions.
The issues raised in the manifesto include incentivising investment in renewables, such as hydrogen, to help the industry achieve its target of reaching Net Zero by 2040. It calls for support for the tourism and hospitality sectors through the global promotion of Scotch Whisky. It also wants a delay in the implementation of the Deposit Return Scheme.
Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “The Scotch Whisky industry is determined to build back stronger and greener from Covid-19 and the shutdown this has caused in global hospitality, tourism and travel.”
She continues: “We hope that candidates will sign-up to the commitments set out in our manifesto, and we look forward to working in partnership with MSPs in the new Parliament to deliver sustained economic growth, a low carbon economy, and a revival of international tourism.”
In 2019, Scotch Whisky exports were worth £4.9bn, and this figure fell by 23% during 2020, due to Covid restrictions, and also a steep tariff of 25% on Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the United States. The tariff was introduced on 19 October 2019, and temporarily suspended on March 4 2021.
The Scottish Whisky Association represents about 75 member companies, and they have published the industry’s full manifesto here. Whisky investment in the UK is currently thriving, and the strong support for the industry means it look set to continue.