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I have regular discussions with all my Cabinet colleagues on issues important to Scotland’s economy, including the forthcoming Budget in March. The Government will deliver a Budget for Scotland’s businesses and Scotland’s people. We will set out ambitious plans to unleash Britain’s potential, and level up across the nations and regions of the UK.
I welcome the recent freeports announcement, and I have no doubt that freeports will unleash the potential of our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK. I and other Ministers on the Front Bench—the Chancellor is here—have heard my hon. Friend’s early representations on behalf of his airport and his area. Not only is he a great champion for the borderlands, but he is a great champion for the Carlisle Lake District airport.
Over the weekend, Kingsbarns distillery in my constituency won the “Best Lowlands Scotch, 12 years and Under” award at the world whisky awards. However, the impact of US tariffs continues to impede the growth of the Scotch whisky industry in my constituency and across Scotland. Will the forthcoming Budget include provisions to help our distilleries to compete internationally, despite those stifling tariffs?
I know that the hon. Lady has a lot of experience of this, having formerly worked for Diageo. The 25% tariffs on malt whisky are a consequence of the Boeing-Airbus dispute between the EU and the USA. In the next carousel, by having useful negotiations on a US trade deal, we want to get those tariffs removed.