GMB calls on government to protect £5bn whisky industry post Brexit

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

24 February 2017

GMB, the union for whisky and spirits workers, has written to the UK government urging protection for the £5bn Scotch industry amid what it termed 'Brexit uncertainty'.

According to GMB the industry is worth around £4billion in exports alone. However 10%, or around £400million, of exports are through trade agreements brokered through the EU, including markets such as Columbia, Mexico and South Korea. There are concerns that following Brexit, the deals would be subjected to 'punishing' tariffs.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland Organiser, said: 'Whisky is a massive success story for Scotland – and the UK – but we need the government to back us up in the months and years ahead.

'Our members want assurances that the government will be doing all it can to ensure the whisky sector can thrive, creating much needed new jobs by securing good deals with new markets.

'Tens of thousands of jobs depend on whisky and the government needs to take action to protect our members' livelihoods post-Brexit. Quite simply, we cannot do without this industry.'

The union is calling on secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell to give reassurances for the whisky industry, similar to those given to Nissan. Back in October the government pledged to seek to maintain tariff-free access to the European Union for car manufacturers once the UK has left the bloc.

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