‘Record year for food and drink exports’

© bbc.co.uk

More than a month ago, I wrote about UK Environment Secretary, Andrea ‘Scotland is full of subsidy junkies’ Leadsom. She was quoted as saying:

Scotch whisky is a driving force of the UK food and drink industry, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all our food and drink exports each year.’

I think she might have more accurately said ‘the driving force’. We make most of the gin too? That’s a bit of a tonic.



Today, the Scottish Government announced a record year for Scottish food and drinks exports. Growing by 8% or £421 million to £5.5 billion and having doubled in the time of the SNP administrations, here’s a quick summary:

‘Food exports alone grew by 22% to £1.5 billion. The fish and seafood category recorded the largest overall increase of £156 million (up 26%), with Europe the leading export destination. Exports to EU countries were worth £2.3 billion overall, up £133 million last year. Scotch Whisky exports grew by £153 million (up 4%) to over £4 billion in 2016.’

Crucially, the profit margins for food and drinks sales are high by contrast with other exports. The UK is a big arms trader but the profit margins on advanced weapons are small as the development costs are high and we have often have to bribe Saudi princes to get the contracts.

I’ve only got a US example but I suspect our development costs are no lower. On an F16 fighter, the profit margin is only allegedly 11%. It’s 60% for Scotch. Also, I doubt that the profit margin on the F16 takes into account government grants and development costs. The development costs for the F35, which the UK hopes to buy for its aircraft carriers, have risen from 233 to 379 billion dollars! Those costs will have to be recouped in the sales.







8 thoughts on “‘Record year for food and drink exports’

  1. macgilleleabhar March 19, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    Makes you wonder why the UK Establishment is so keen to hang onto a neighbour with a “Basket case economy” especially when they are not known as being charitable.


    • broadbield March 19, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      They’ve never answered that, nor, why of the 12 EU countries having a population similar in size to Scotland or smaller (from Denmark at 5.6m to Malta at 0.4m) it is only Scotland which is a “Basket case economy”, unable to thrive as an Independent country like these 12 others do.


  2. Niall Barr March 19, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Do you happen to know the total excise duty on whisky exports to the EU – my understanding is that excise is paid in the country of manufacture for spirits both produced and sold in the EU, but in the country of final sale otherwise, so this could be quite significant for Scotland.


  3. Alasdair Macdonald March 20, 2017 / 8:47 am

    In the interview on GMS today, the BBC interviewer after saying ‘much goes to Europe’ added ‘and even more goes to the UK’. It is important to plug the unionist message. The spokesperson for the industry was much more nuanced and very careful to steer a course between Leave/Remain and Yes/No.


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