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Scotch whisky industry worth £7.1 billion to UK economy, SWA reports

The Scotch whisky industry was worth £7.1 billion to the UK economy in 2022, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has reported.

Of the gross value added (GVA) generated by the industry (which is defined as including production, sales, and distribution), £5.3 billion was generated in Scotland, making it the country's second most productive sector after renewable energy and responsible for £3 in every £100 of GVA generated in 2022.


The SWA's economic impact report, released on Tuesday, also noted that the industry now supports 66,000 jobs in the UK, including 41,000 in Scotland.


Despite an increase in spirits duty in the UK in August 2023, which came into force after a blanket freeze was lifted and saw the rate rise to 10 per cent, the report's assessment of the industry's current health is positive. However, the SWA also warned of challenges ahead, including a need for investment in key infrastructure in Scotland and post-Brexit trade deals still to be finalised by the UK government.


Mark Kent, CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association (pictured), said, “The Scotch whisky industry has once again proven its economic significance to the UK domestically and on the world stage, and these figures highlight the importance of backing a key sector for productivity, exports, and employment.”


“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.”


The UK government's Scottish secretary Alister Jack said, “I welcome this report which demonstrates the great strength and resilience of the Scottish whisky industry. The sector’s contribution to the economy, with ever-growing exports and investment in skills and jobs, is of vital importance to Scotland, and the whole of the UK.”

16 January 2024 - Bethany Brown