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21st March 2012

Duty fraud – no need for costly duty stamps, says BBPA

Commenting on today’s announcement of a consultation on Duty stamps and supply chain legislation to tackle duty fraud, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments:

“Tax stamps or fiscal marks for every can and bottle of beer are a completely disproportionate response. The industry is committed to tackling duty fraud but we don’t believe the problem is anywhere near the scale suggested by HMRC.  This would be hugely costly to brewers, and is totally at odds with the Government’s objectives of reducing regulatory burdens on business. Stamping 5.5 billion bottles and cans of British beer each year, with no such controls on bottles of wine, would also be hugely unfair.

“HMRC already has powers available to tackle fraud, and we are working closely with them.  Brewers have put a lot of effort into providing detailed data on beer movements, and invested in due diligence procedures to reduce the risk of fraud. It is this, along with robust and targeted enforcement that will deliver results.

“HMRC should also make better use of EMCS data, an EU-wide system where any movements of duty-suspended beer are recorded on a central database. This system has resulted in significant costs for brewers, so it should be fully used. They should also get tough against criminals and fraudsters, by exploring additional enforcement measures, such as looking at having separate lanes at ports, and seizing vehicles found to be carrying contraband.”


“Spirits and beer cannot be treated the same – in terms of duty, a single bottle of spirits equates to 20 cans of beer, which comes in a vast range of products and package types.”




For further information please contact:

Neil Williams, Communications Manager Tel: (020) 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

Gareth Barrett, Public Affairs Officer Tel: (020) 7627 9154