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Jeremy Hunt to ‘look again’ at alcohol duty after Scottish whisky industry complaints

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has promised to “look again” at the decision to scrap a planned freeze on alcohol duty.

As part of a raft of measures scrapped from the controversial mini-budget, a plan to keep the levy on alcoholic drinks at the same level was thrown out.

That drew criticism from the Scottish whisky industry, who said they are already facing uncertainty in a difficult economic climate.

Mr Hunt addressed MPs in the House of Commons on Monday evening and was asked by Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael about the scrapped freeze.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said: “The Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association made the point this morning that time after time, freezes in spirits duty have delivered more revenue to the Treasury, contrary to all forecasts from the Treasury.

Read More: Scotch whisky makers hit out after alcohol duty freeze scrapped

“The Chancellor will know that is correct so why does he think it would be different this time?”

Mr Hunt did not commit to reverse the decision, but told his parliamentary colleague that he would be willing to consider taking action.

He said: “I will happily take that piece of wisdom away to the Treasury. I don’t think it’s likely that they would have recommended that we take the measures that we took today if that was the case.

“But I will ask them to look at it again.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said: “The Scotch whisky industry and the wider spirits industry are facing uncertainty due to the Chancellor’s U-turns on taxation.

“These businesses are at the heart of our local economy in the isles and elsewhere in the UK and yet constantly rising spirits duty are a drag on their success. The Chancellor needs to think again and U-turn – he has plenty of form as it is.”

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