Concern over short time to bring in duty stamps

The Budget small print threw up a potentially difficult situation for wholesalers next year in respect of duty stamps on bottles of spirits.

FWD says that a Budget-related HM Customs Excise Business Brief includes a disturbing paragraph on “implementation and transition”, which shows that there might be at best nine months in which to clear unmarked stock through the supply chain, and at worst three months.

FWD has already registered its concern with Customs Excise of the likelihood that not all stock will be stamped until October 1 2006. This would leave far too short a time to clear unmarked stock before the penalties for selling it come into force, as currently scheduled, on January 1 2007.

Stocks will have been built up for Christmas 2006, including many slow moving lines, and this could be a recipe for chaos, says FWD.

The situation will be compounded by another Budget revelation that liqueurs will not, as was once hoped by the trade, be exempted. However, Customs Excise says that 85% will escape inclusion because they are below the 30% proof threshold.

FWD has also flagged up its concerns to the Joint Alcohol and Tobacco Consultation Group (JATCG), which has been representing the spirits industry and working with the Government on this new legislation.

“The Federation is a member of the JATCG and we are due to meet with HM Customs Excise shortly,” said John Murphy director general designate of FWD.

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