Tackling Scotland's Alcohol Problem

Getting in the spirit? Alcohol and the Scottish economy

Getting in the spirit? Alcohol and the Scottish economy

While Scotland has a well-established reputation as a producer of whisky, a report today reveals that as a nation we are much more likely to drink wine, beer and vodka. The research from the Social Market Foundation think tank report shows that the alcohol industry costs the economy – in terms of impact on public services, productivity and the value of lives lost to alcohol – roughly the same amount as it generates for the economy. Key findings include:

  • 4.9% of the Scottish economy (£8.1bn) can be attributed to the sale of alcohol, around 60% of which comes from whisky exports
  • 99% of whisky produced in Scotland is exported
  • Alcohol’s share of employment (2.4%) is half its share of GDP because whisky production is not labour intensive
  • Around half of the 60,000 Scottish jobs related to alcohol are in pubs, bars and restaurants – these are some of the lowest paying jobs in the economy
  • The societal costs of alcohol go far beyond the £1.2bn estimated economic cost - including the £ value put on lost life, the costs are comparable to alcohol’s contribution to GDP – amounting to between £5-10bn
  • Scots drink considerably more wine, beer and vodka than we do whisky
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Created Date: 8th Feb 2023
Last Updated: 8th Feb 2023

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