Scotch whisky industry brings £7.1bn into UK economy

The drink amounted to 77% of Scotland’s foot and drink exports, as well as 26% for the UK overall.

The Scotch whisky industry brought £7.1bn into the UK economy in 2022, a report has said.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) – the trade body for the sector – said the gross value added (GVA) of whisky in 2022 had increased by 29% since 2018.

The industry is worth £5.3bn to Scotland alone, equating to around 3% of total GVA.

The drink amounted to 77% of Scotland’s foot and drink exports, as well as 26% for the UK overall.

Mark Kent, chief executive of the SWA, said the report “has once again proven its economic significance to the UK”.

He added: “The past five years have been turbulent for our sector, as we faced retaliatory tariffs in the United States, in addition to the global pandemic and the knock-on economic pressures.

“The Scotch whisky industry has remained resilient, with capital investment directed towards fulfilling our collective sustainability ambitions, creating world-class visitor attractions, and building more distilleries that will help boost jobs and growth.

“Ahead of the UK spring budget on 6 March and this year’s general election, it is vital that the industry is supported by government so that businesses can continue to invest in the UK economy.”

Scottish secretary Alister Jack welcomed the report, praising the “vital importance” of the sector to Scotland.

“The UK Government wholeheartedly supports the industry,” he said.

“Scotch is not just Scotland’s but the UK’s most valuable food and drink export and that’s why we’ve given it 10 cuts or freezes in duty at the last 11 budgets, as well as removing punitive tariffs imposed on the US market.

“We are pushing forward with new and robust global trade agreements that will continue to safeguard the interest of Scotch whisky, ensuring that the unique characteristics and reputation of Scotch are protected.”

Scotch whisky supports 66,00 jobs across the UK, with 41,000 in Scotland.

In the past decade 24,000 jobs have been created, the report said.

Scotland’s Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said the industry is “extremely valuable” to the country, adding: “Scotch whisky is a world-renowned brand and our leading single food and drink export product.

“Continued growth in global markets means more jobs and investment across Scotland, our communities benefit and it entices visitors and residents to experience the incredible offer we have here in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work with the whisky sector to drive further growth and success.”

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