l Members of the FWD Council met HM Revenue amp; Customs to discuss strategies to tackle alcohol duty fraud. HMRC has had some success in publicising the dangers of involvement in suspect supply chains to warehouse owners and hauliers. While supply of duty-avoiding goods had been restricted by HMRC action in some regions, FWD pointed out that the practice was still damaging members in many areas and asked HMRC to keep up pressure on the illegal supply chain.
l FWD has obtained answers to parliamentary questions tabled by MPs on its behalf. These include enquiries about the number of prosecutions for alcohol duty fraud in recent years, and how the government is liaising with its European counterparts to tackle this issue. Further questions have been tabled on whether the Chancellor will consider a review of the duty drawback scheme.l Parliamentary questions have also been asked on the definition of bulk retailers with regard to hand rolling tobacco, and how much hand-rolling tobacco is sold by bulk tobacconists in pre-packed quantities weighing 250 grams or more. The intention is to establish that the current definition does not reflect operational reality.
l Lilian Greenwood MP (South Nottingham) visited Hyperama in the city. She spent an hour with the owners and heard their views on illicit alcohol, planning policy, business rates and car park taxes.
l Health secretary Andrew Lansley and Transport minister Mike Penning were among MPs visiting stores as part of the My Shop is Your Shop campaign in June. As well as giving local publicity to excellent examples of community stores and introducing retailers to their MP, these visits establish closer relationships between FWD and the parliamentarians.