Union warning on tariff threat to Scotch whisky

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The UK government has repeatedly ignored warnings and left the Scottish whisky industry exposed, according to the union GMB Scotland.

GMB is calling for an end to the US whisky tariffs that threaten 22,000 whisky and spirit industry jobs.

New analysis from GMB shows the spirit industry in Scotland employs 9,000 people directly and a further 14,700 jobs in the supply chain across the UK.

The figures also show Scotch whisky exports were worth £4.7 billion in 2018 and average earnings in the spirits industry are 19 per cent higher than the average for manufacturing in general.

A 25 per cent tariff was imposed on imports of US whiskey into the EU in June 2018, in response to US tariffs on European steel and aluminium.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland organiser, said: ‘The Conservative government has repeatedly ignored GMB warnings and left the Scottish whisky industry exposed to attacks from the US.

‘These tariffs constitute a direct threat to the Scottish economy and to more than 20,000 jobs across the UK.’