Whisky industry already paying for embassy support

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The Daily Mail’s story that Scotland would have to start paying for promotion of whisky in UK embassies in the case of independence appears to have backfired, as it was revealed it already does.

The newspaper reported Foreign Secretary William Hague as saying that currently promotion of Scotland’s most famous export was done for free at the country’s 140 overseas missions, but this would end if Scots voted for separation from the UK in 2014.

In the Scottish Parliament, however, First Minister Alex Salmond revealed that the Scottish overseas investment body Scottish Development International is already charged for such events.

In a reply to the SNP’s John Finnie, Mr Salmond said: “When Scottish Development International holds receptions that promote whisky in our international embassies, we are charged up to £3,000 a time for the privilege, but when UK Trade and Investment holds receptions, it is charged nothing at all.”

NewsnetScotland.com reported Mr Finnie as later praising the whisky industry while criticising Mr Hague’s comments.

“Despite the £3,000 charge by UK embassies to host receptions promoting Scotch whisky, it remains Scotland’s most iconic product and Mr Hague should be ashamed of his petty and inaccurate scare-mongering,” he said.

“Worldwide whisky exports reached £3.54billion in 2010. It is simply one of our finest exports that are appreciated globally.”

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