Source: The Spirits Business
by Kristiane Sherry
Scotland’s GDP recovered from 0.2% quarterly GDP declines to post 0.8% gains for the first three months of 2016, helped by a “substantial contribution” from Scotch whisky, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has said.
The official GDP figures show that Scotland grew faster than the rest of the UK, which collectively managed a 0.2% increase over the period.
In the first quarter of 2017, more than 18.4 million bottles of Scotch were sold in the UK, up 5% year on year, SWA data shows.
“It’s very encouraging to see growth in the Scottish economy in the first quarter of the year, and the substantial contribution Scotch whisky has made to that,” said Karen Betts, SWA chief executive.
“The Scotch whisky industry, which employs more than 10,000 people in Scotland, adds almost £5 billion of value annually to the Scottish economy. The economic growth we see in the figures reflects the performance of Scotch Whisky in the first quarter of the year, where Scotch exports were £878 million, up 10% on the first quarter of 2016.
“To ensure this success into the future, it’s vital that the Scottish and British governments work with the industry to ensure our needs are taken into account as Brexit progresses, including by supporting an open, global trade policy; securing a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU, and the benefits of EU free trade agreements with third countries around the world until ambitious new bilateral trade deals can be negotiated; and supporting a tax and regulatory agenda at home that provides a platform for international growth for British exporters.”
In the year ending March 2017, Scotch exports boosted the UK trade balance by £4.1 billion, the SWA says.