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19th July 2012

MPs’ inquiry into duty fraud – UK brewers support all recommendations, and call for Duty Fraud Task Force now

UK brewers have expressed their support for all of the recommendations in a report by the APPBG into duty fraud, published today. The British Beer & Pub Association has also called for the establishment of a new joint Government and industry anti-fraud task force, with expert stakeholders. This should be set up as soon as possible, to make existing policies work better and to build on the current anti-fraud strategy, says the BBPA.


BBPA Chief Executive, Brigid Simmonds, comments:


“I want to thank Andrew Griffiths, John Healey and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, who  have jointly undertaken a very thorough investigation, and have concluded that the time is not right for the introduction of beer tax stamps or supply chain legislation.


“They are right to be concerned over the very damaging effect these plans would have on the UK brewing and pub industry, and of equal importance, the reduced choice this would mean for beer drinkers.


“We endorse all of the report’s recommendations – and we must work more closely together to pursue more criminal prosecutions against those involved in fraud.  To this end, we invite HMRC and all other stakeholders to join us in tackling the problem through a new Task Force, which should be set up as soon as possible so it can start delivering results.”



Notes to editors:


For further information please contact:


David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 436 033

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


The BBPA’s submission to the HMRC consultation opposing the proposals is available on the BBPA’s website at This also includes a BBPA Parliamentary Briefing, and a legal opinion from DLA Piper arguing that the policy would contravene EU competition law.


An HMRC consultation on tax stamps and supply chain legislation was announced as part of HMRC’s Alcohol Fraud Strategy in the Budget, on 26th March.


The Government estimates between 5 per cent and 14 per cent of total beer consumption is illicit, implying tax losses of approximately £500 million per year, but this is disputed by the industry.  The proposals envisage a regime of fiscal marks (tax stamps) and/or supply chain legalisation, whereby suppliers would have to ‘track and trace’ their products.


Beer tax rates in the UK are considerably higher than in nearby states. Typical duty on a pint of beer in the UK is 55p, whereas in France it is just 7p.


The British Beer & Pub Association is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector.  Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and around half of Britain’s 51,000 pubs.



Neil Williams

Communications Manager

British Beer & Pub Association

020 7627 9156

07974 249 779