Last Chance Saloon

By Alec Ross

Some thoughts on whisky…..

Whisky (again). Since reading the latest industry figures, been trying to put it into some perspective. Here goes…

41 bottles a second exported.

£123 per second (£3 / bottle) direct to the Treasury,

Which is:

£7380 / minute, or £442,800 / hour.

After a day, the treasury “earns” £10.672m. One day. The mystery of why London doesn’t wish us to leave is deep and unfathomable.

A year’s trading provides tax revenues of £3,878,928,000. From a single product line. London then decides how much of this we get back. It’s called pooling and sharing / better together / precious family of nations.

£3,878,928,000 gets you a lot of bang for your buck.

You could build the new Aberdeen bypass five times over, and still have change (£700m of change). You could build fifty-five new hospitals to a scale of the state of the art new one in Kirkwall. It would get you at least ten major road projects the size of the Glasgow missing link. If you we’re prepared to wait five years you’d have more than enough to build a bridge from Portpatrick to Donaghadee.

Some thoughts:

highland parkFirstly, the success of whisky is built on the cultivation of a trusted brand. It cannot and must not be unionised and it must retain its Protected Geographical Indicator status and not be traded off as a pawn in post-Brexit deals with Trump et al (the same goes for pork, lamb, beef and salmon). But, believe me, this lot would sell their own granny. We need to take charge of these crucial industries that underpin the Scottish economy.

Secondly, for as long as Westminster holds all the major economic powers and levers, little of the investment outlined above will ever happen. Indeed, the opening phase of the AWPR (Aberdeen bypass) today reminds us of the excellent infrastructure work undertaken by the Scottish Government, even with the limited powers it is reluctantly granted – powers that Brexit undermines.

And thirdly, just imagine what we could do if we held all the powers, and the levers, and had a Scottish Treasury in a normal independent country?

So, viewing the current situation through the prism of whisky (as I often do, sometimes literally) I conclude:

Why are we still here?



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10 replies »

    • All you’ve done is taken the total revenue and divided it by the total number of bottles exported. But that the revenue didn’t come from exports.
      The Tax raised on Scotch whisky for the UK treasury is nearly all spirit duty and VAT, both of which are domestic taxes. The problem with that is that when Scotland becomes independent most of that, at least 85%, will still go to the London Treasury for the Scotch sold in rUK. Meaning that Scotland will only get about 15% of that. Of course this also means that the Scottish treasury will get the Spirit duty and VAT on all other spirits sold and consumed in Scotland. But it won’t amount to anything like the £3.8bn that you have quoted.

  1. Just messin’……

    “There’s gold in the North I’ve been told
    And it makes the Orcadians bold
    Highland Park is the name
    It’s a whisky of fame
    Especially when 18 years old!”


  2. Editors Note: All international exports relevant to Scotch Whisky are counted as Scottish exports, irrespective of the port at which they depart the UK. In 2017, Scotch whisky exports from the UK were valued at £4.36 billion, up 9% (£356.3 million) compared to 2016. The data is sourced from the HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics report.

    Scotch Whisky exports to the rest of the UK are estimated based on GCS responses, as HMRC do not collect information on trade within the UK.

    Q: How do taxes from the whisky industry feature in the GERS estimates?

    A: Like any industry, the whisky industry’s activity in Scotland generates tax revenue through a range of sources, such as corporation tax on profits, income tax and national insurance contributions on staff earnings, and non-domestic rates payments on business premises. These are all captured in the estimates of Scottish public sector receipts reported in GERS.

    In addition, whisky consumed in the UK is subject to VAT and alcohol duty. This is assigned to Scotland on the basis of how much is consumed in Scotland. Whisky which is exported does not generate UK VAT or alcohol duty. There is no export duty in the UK.

  3. Unionists have strange mental processes. In this instance the clue is in the title, “United Kingdom”. The United Kingdom is a bipartite union of kingdoms. It is legally neither a country nor a union of four countries with England as the masters ruling three dominion countries. Thus to express anything in terms where the United Kingdom is other than both kingdoms together is total nonsense.

    Furthermore the ECJ ruled, long ago, that legally Westminster is not sovereign over the United Kingdom as the UK is a bipartite union of two, equally sovereign kingdoms.


    However, Westminster has continued to act as if it was sovereign over both Kingdoms but Scots law is still legally independent of English law and there is no such thing as a United Kingdom Rule of Law. Westminster legislates by the English Rule of law under which Her/his Majesty Queen/king of England is legally sovereign but had to delegate his/her royal Divine Right of Kings to the Parliament of England, (Glorious Revolution 1688). However, no Parliament of England has ever been elected since 1 May 1707.

    Westminster is not legally the parliament of England it only assumes itself to be the de facto parliament of England and the Treaty of Union 1706/7 only has two signatories and they are kingdoms not countries and there are only two of them.

    Scotland is legally a partner kingdom – not a dominion country of England.

  4. Alec irrespective of your possible accounting errors ( who cares ) Scotland’s coffers would still be better off , as they would be better off with any other profits from our other resources , but then that’s why the GERS figures are foisted on us all the time by the better together proud Scots BUT brigade . If we are too poor to survive shurely our wastemonster maggots would produce the correct figures to explainerise their need to subsidise us pooooor Scots .

    Robert Peffers keep putting the TRUTH out there we will #dissolvetheputridunion

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