SNP politicians have slammed the UK Government for increasing whisky duty in last week's Tory budget.

Tax on the average bottle of Scotland's iconic spirit will now be 79 per cent and companies like Diageo are already facing uncertainties due to Brexit and plans to leave the single market.

MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and MSP Keith Brown have both slammed chancellor Philip Hammond for turning the vital local industry into a cash cow.

The Ochil and South Perthshire MP said: “Once again the Tories have targeted the Scotch Whisky industry as some sort of 'cash cow'.

“Whisky plays a vital role in the Clackmannanshire economy, but once again it’s being used to prop up austerity budgets. Excise duty on whisky is now 21 per cent higher than in 2010, and that’s bad for the industry and bad for local jobs.

“We are incredibly proud of the success of our local whisky industry, which is a significant local employer. The proposed changes threaten a vital sector that is trying to invest in the future.

“I have promised to be a strong voice for local industries at Westminster, and that’s exactly what I’ll do.

“I’ve already discussed this matter with my colleagues and been in touch with industry representatives, and I look forward to working with them all to stand up against this ill-thought out, unfair Tory policy.

“I will do all I can in parliament to oppose this dangerous tax hike.”

Speaking after the budget was presented last week, Clackmannanshire and Dunblane MSP Brown added: “The Tory budget yesterday was deeply disappointing and is nothing more than an attempt to use Scotland’s whisky industry to plug the budgetary black hole caused by Tory austerity and the hard Brexit that is coming down the line.

“While the Scottish Government is making every effort to support our food and drink sector, the Tories at Westminster are determined to hit the industry ever harder with tax at a time when the industry is investing in the future – with excise duty on whisky now 21 per cent higher than in 2010.

“The whisky industry plays an important part in Clackmannanshire's economy, with Diageo sites in Alloa, Menstrie and Blackgrange employing so many local people.

“To see the Tories put this under threat, firstly by increasing taxes on the sector yet again, and secondly by pursuing a damaging hard Brexit, is completely unacceptable and something that the SNP will fight at every opportunity.”

The Advertiser has contacted the Treasury for a reply and was ignored.