Whisky tax ‘could raise £1bn’

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A TAX should be levied on each bottle of whisky sold to share the industry’s riches with the drink’s country of origin, economic experts have suggested.

A £1 per bottle tax could boost Holyrood coffers by £1 billion, said Professor John Kay, who served as a government advisor to Alex Salmond.

Prof Kay said the benefits coming to Scotland from recent export success, notably to emerging markets in South America and Africa, had been 
“disappointing”.

The claim is made on BBC One Scotland programme Scotched Earth being broadcast tonight.

A tax would not lead to a drop in demand if distillers absorbed the extra cost instead of passing it on to drinkers, said Prof Kay.

Sir George Mathewson, previously chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, said a tax of 50p per bottle could lead to higher prices but argued that “would not be a major percentage of the sales price”.