THE Scotch whisky industry has poured an extra 10% into the UK economy since 2016, it is claimed.

A new report measures its value at £5.5 billion a year.

Building on research carried out by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), the paper, by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), also reveals Scotland’s national drink generates two-thirds of all gross value added (GVA) of spirits in the UK.

Exports totalled £4.7 billion last year as several new distilleries began production and opened their doors to tourists.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: “This research shows the Scotch whisky industry’s huge contribution to both the Scottish and UK economies.

“Significantly, the research shows that our industry’s GVA increased by 10% to £5.5bn between 2016 and 2018 as a result of Scotch Whisky companies’ continued export success and the industry’s consistent investment at home – with more than £500 million going into production, distribution, marketing and tourism in the last five years.

“Despite the challenges of Brexit, this investment continues to flow, with further projects planned and more distilleries set to open – a sign that the Scotch whisky industry remains confident about the future.

“This is great news for our many employees, our investors, our supply chain and, of course, for consumers.”

The direct impact of the spirit on the economy is estimated to be £3.8bn, with additional indirect and induced effects of a further £1.7bn.

Scotch whisky contributed 21% to the value of all UK food and drink exports and 1.3% of the value of all UK goods exported in 2018.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick MP said the UK Government’s freeze on duty for spirits will support the sector.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said: “I welcome the contribution that the Scotch whisky industry makes to the Scottish economy.

“The industry’s performance is testament to the hard work of those who work in this important sector, making Scotch whisky one of Scotland’s greatest global exports.”