SCOTCH whisky could see a boost if a proposed future trade deal with Australia cuts tariffs on the drink, the UK Government has claimed.

However, the SNP say that people will not "be fooled" by the Tory government's rhetoric "given its record on selling out our vital sectors".

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has said she is pushing to ensure the 5% tariff is scrapped as part of a proposed free trade deal with Australia.

Currently, Australia is the eighth biggest market for Scotch whisky, accounting for £131 million, with hopes any deal could see that figure rise.

Truss said: “A UK-Australia trade agreement would be significant for Scotch whisky and the Union.

“Part of the promise of leaving the EU was striking deals with countries well beyond Europe, opening new opportunities for iconic British goods like Scotch overseas.

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“I am fighting hard to get these tariffs cut and secure a deal that benefits producers in Scotland and helps the whole of the UK.”

Karen Betts, the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) also voiced her support for the removal of the tariff, saying: “We’re looking forward to the conclusion of a free trade agreement with Australia – which will benefit Scotch whisky exports, our Australian consumers and which will support free and fair trade.

“Over the last 10 years, exports of Scotch Whisky to Australia have almost doubled. But they’re subject to a 5% tariff which we’d very much like to see removed.”

Ahead of a visit to an Edinburgh distillery, UK trade minister Graham Stuart said: “As we continue to reduce trade barriers and cut red tape, UK businesses and consumers can be assured that they will benefit from all the trade deals we are signing with countries across the world.”

But the Scottish Government has repeatedly raised concerns over the deal, which the First Minister has said would be a “betrayal” of Scottish farmers if import standards do not match those on domestic production.

Responding to the UK government's claims that the deal could boost the Scotch whisky industry, the SNP's shadow international trade spokesperson Drew Hendry MP said that the Tories could not be trusted to stand up for Scotland's interests

Hendry said: "People will not be fooled by the Tory government's Brexit rhetoric given its record on selling out our vital sectors in pursuit of deals.

"It was not that long ago that our world-class Scotch whisky industry was paying a heavy price in tariffs due to Tory inaction. We all want to see more trade, however the reality is that the Tory government's extreme post-Brexit plans fail Scotland's vital industries.

"Distilleries have told me that they now face a big gap in their exports due to the EU market contracting drastically as a direct result of Brexit and new red tape, and that the loss cannot even come close to being compensated by these deals.

"We have already witnessed our seafood industry being sold out, and we know the devastating impact the proposed Australia deal will have on Scottish farmers and crofters - threatening the viability of Scottish lamb and beef farming and undercutting the sector.

"The Tory government has proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted to stand up for Scotland's interests."