Select Committee on Scottish Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Joseph E Seagram & Sons, Inc

Letter to the Clerk from the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Joseph E Seagram and Sons Inc.

  On behalf of Chivas Brothers Ltd and The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd, our whisky production interests in Scotland, I am pleased to endorse the Scotch Whisky Association's submission to the Select Committee, which was transmitted to the Select Committee in September[88].

  Our parent company, The Seagram Company Ltd, a Canadian entity, has been investing in Scotch whisky production for over 50 years. We believe that our nine Highland distilleries produce some of the finest whiskies in the world. From our extensive bottling and warehousing facilities in Paisley, Seagram ships its many Scotch whiskies to over 190 global markets.

  At the same time, we are delighted to welcome to our Scottish operations a variety of international visitors. These include not only our consumers, but also our global and regional distributors, other business customers, foreign government representatives and other distinguished guests.

  The SWA submission raises several important points for the Select Committee to consider. The impact of the UK's high rates of excise duty on overseas governments' tax policies, to the detriment of our export competitiveness, should not be underestimated. A convergence of UK alcohol excise tax rates towards a single excise rate based on alcohol content would enhance the UK Government's position in arguing for non-discriminatory tax policies within the EU and other world markets.

  With regards to industry regulation, the planned imposition of the proposed Climate Change Levy is a cause of great concern to many in the industry. Given the complicated qualifying criteria, the Levy will not be applied in a uniform manner across the distilling industry. This will inevitably lead to competitive distortions. The members of the SWA will continue to work with the Government in an effort to eliminate these distortions from the application of the Levy.

  It is hoped that this submission is helpful to your enquiries. As already states, Seagram endorses the submission of the SWA and have no further comments.

Office of Public Policy and Government Relations
Joseph E Seagram and Sons, Inc

November 2000

88   See evidence, HC 973-ii (Session 1999-2000), pp. 39-46. Back

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