Mike Weir MP has condemned the Conservative Government for choosing to increase whisky duty in the Westminster Budget - claiming it will harm distillers across Angus.
The tax on a bottle of whisky will now be a staggering 79 per cent, and comes at a time when the Tory government is already threatening the whisky industry’s ability to export from Angus due to their plans for a damaging hard Brexit outside the single market.
Scotland’s distilleries have experienced a boom in recent years due to diversification beyond whisky and increased exports– and Weir believes it’s unacceptable to see Westminster attempting a cash grab on Angus distilleries such as Glencadam in Brechin.
Mr Weir said: “The Tory budget was deeply disappointing and is nothing more than an attempt to use Scotland’s whisky and distilling industry to plug the budgetary black hole caused by Tory austerity and the hard Brexit that is coming down the line.
“While the Scottish Government is making every effort to support our food and drink sector, the Tories at Westminster are determined to hit the industry ever harder with tax at a time when the industry is investing in the future – with excise duty on whisky now 21% higher than in 2010.
“Distilleries are vital to the local economy. There were once several whisky distilleries operating in Angus but only Glencadam in Brechin now remains.
“However, in recent years we have seen a substantial rise in smaller scale craft distilling of Gin and Vodka and all these will be hit by the duty rise raising the retail cost of their products.
“To see the Tories put this under threat, firstly by increasing taxes on the sector yet again, and secondly by pursuing a damaging hard Brexit, is completely unacceptable and something that the SNP will fight at every opportunity.”