Scottish Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament, Sheila Ritchie has written to the Presidency of the Council of the EU calling for changes to the excise duties on alcohol in order to support spirits distilleries.
Presently, there are different guidelines for spirits, beer and wine meaning that craft brewers and craft cider makers can exercise tax advantages, when craft distillers cannot. As such, there are often higher tax rates for spirits when compared to other alcohol products.
Ms Ritchie's letter has been backed by politicians from Italy and Finland.
Sheila Ritchie said:
“As it stands, the system of excise duties is not fit for purpose and puts Scotch whisky and other spirit distillers at a competitive disadvantage compared to other alcohol producers.
“In Scotland, spirits tourism has had a major hand in revitalising rural areas by promoting remote and disadvantaged regions as a destination where visitors from all over the world can enjoy our rich cultural heritage.
“Last year, over two million people from around the world visited Scottish distilleries. The industry deserves a level playing field and our support.”
Notes to editors:
Sheila Ritchie MEP’s letter can be found here
More background on this issue can be found here