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Scottish leaders: Scotch is no 'cash cow'

March 9, 2008 at 8:26 AM

LONDON, March 9 (UPI) -- Scottish officials say that British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling is trying to milk Scotch whisky as a "cash cow."

Darling is expected to include an increase in taxes on whisky in the budget he is to introduce Wednesday, The Scotsman reports. The tax has remained at its current level for about 10 years.

Scottish National Party leaders suggested that a tax increase could trigger a border war.

"Scotch whisky is already unfairly taxed. It would be entirely wrong to further increase punitive taxation on one of Scotland's premiership industries," said John Swinney, the Scottish finance minister. "The Scotch whisky industry must not be used as a cash cow to solve the Treasury's financial bungling of taxes and the economy."

Darling is reportedly considering tax hikes on all liquor. From the government's point of view that could have two good results -- raising revenue and discouraging binge drinking.

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