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,
£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.
Firstly, 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?