The plight of the Scotch whisky industry and the impacts of Brexit, tariffs and coronavirus have been raised by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes as they call on the UK Government to provide more support.
In a letter to Defra Secretary George Eustice, Mr Ewing called for Brexit related issues such as delays to exports, additional certification and complications for UK labels given the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol to be addressed urgently.
“It’s been a particularly difficult year for Scotland’s food and drink sector. A once booming whisky industry has seen overseas exports drop by 23% in the last year alone.
“The whisky industry was already reeling from the triple threat of US import tariffs, the coronavirus pandemic slowing global demand, and a complicated alcohol duty system before Brexit compounded matters. Like many food and drink businesses, the sector is struggling with complicated bureaucracy post Brexit and it is vital that such issues are resolved as soon as possible.
“I have written to the UK Government urging them to address the problems and will do my utmost to help one of Scotland’s greatest food and drink success stories get through this challenging time.”
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has also written to the UK Government ahead of the Budget, urging the Chancellor to take further immediate steps to recognise and support the Scotch whisky industry, including necessary reforms to the alcohol duty system.