SNP trade unionists have submitted a motion to set up a feasibility study that could see the Scottish whisky industry deliver up to £1 billion pounds for the Scottish public purse.

The SNP Trade Union Group, the largest of the SNP affiliated organisations with 15,000 supporters, has submitted a Whisky Levy Feasibility motion for consideration at the SNP annual conference, which will take place online on the last weekend of November.

The proposal, first suggested by a former member of the First Minster’s council of economic advisers and then supported by other economists and commentators, believes that a water tax, similar to an industrial water rate in structure, could raise between £100 million and £1bn pounds for the Scottish public purse.

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Bill Ramsay, vice convener of the SNP Trade Union Group, said: “The Johnson administration has turned the issue of public services finance into a full-blown crisis. Despite its best efforts, the Scottish Government does not ultimately control the purse strings. Those are in the hands of the UK Treasury in London.”

But he added: “The Scottish Government does have some room for financial manoeuvre. The proposal put forward some years ago by Professor John Kay and endorsed by others are of the view that using existing powers the Scottish Government may well be able to lever additional revenue from the Scotch whisky industry.

“Serious examination of this and other related initiatives need not wait until Scotland is independent with its own treasury”.

Donnie Blair, a former senior executive in the whisky industry, said the SNP “has a duty to at least examine the feasibility of these proposals – indeed the state of public finances demands it”.