Alan Reid, MP for Argyll and Bute, said he was delighted that the Chancellor had listened to his advice and cut the duty on whisky by two per cent in the 2015 budget - hailed by the industry as "a historic decision". The Lib Dem, who has represented Argyll and Bute for 14 years, had called for the duty to be cut when he secured a debate in the House of Commons in February on the whisky industry.
"A bottle of whisky was taxed at 80 per cent. Most people were shocked when they become aware of that statistic and agreed that it is far too high," said Mr Reid. "So I was especially pleased to hear during the Budget that the tax was coming down."
So too was David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association. He hailed this as "a historic decision and only the fourth time whisky duty has been cut in a century. The move is a major boost to our industry as we look to grow again in the UK, and it equally sends out an important signal on fair taxation to our export markets."
Mr Reid had told the Commons: "The whisky industry provides jobs in remote communities where alternative work would be hard to find. With eight distilleries, whisky is clearly very important to Islay. On Jura, with its small population the island's distillery is a vital part of the economy. There are also distilleries in Campbeltown, Oban and Tobermory which contribute significantly to the economies of those communities. Every pound of value added in this industry produces an additional 52 pence of value in the wider economy."
He added that Scotch whisky is the UK's largest food and drink sector accounting for a quarter of the UK's food and drink exports; it adds £3.3 billion directly to the UK GDP and once indirect jobs are taken into account, its total impact is to add almost £5 billion to the UK economy.