MEPs in Strasbourg for their monthly plenary session will be asked on Thursday to vote for a proposal which will give tax breaks worth over €1 billion to rum from France's Overseas Departments in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. Speaking out against the proposal, Scottish Conservative Euro MP Struan Stevenson said:
"The proposal to renew this generous tax concession for French rum is outrageous and will provide an unfair competitive advantage, which will clearly discriminate against Scotch whisky. The European Commission is asking us to vote to allow France to continue taxing rum from its overseas departments in Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique and La Reunion at a reduced rate. My understanding is that the sale of rum from these French overseas departments has soared by over 20% in the past decade, so there is no commercial justification for this tax concession. The proposed €1 billion tax break would last for 7 years and place whisky at a serious disadvantage. I will be working flat out this week in the European parliament to try to persuade a majority of MEPs to vote against this discriminatory proposal."