The FWD is challenging the government to take action to stamp out duty fraud after presenting it with a set of recommendations.
Speaking at the FWD Annual Dinner and Gold Awards, FWD president Francis Ball said legitimate wholesalers were being hit particularly hard by lost sales of beer and wine.
He said: “These very large volumes are being lost to operators on the fringes of our industry who sell at prices so far below standard cost prices that they must involve duty fraud.”
Ball said that wholesalers’ share of the beer market in particular was particularly strong, and it was sales that they could not afford to lose.
He added: “Therefore, we are co-operating with the major brewers and wine suppliers and have engaged with HM Revenue Customs and HM Treasury on this particular issue for nearly two years, but the problem seems to grow bigger by the week. And that is particularly galling at this time of year in the run up to Christmas.
“Such is our deep concern at the current state of affairs that the FWD commissioned a specialist consultancy to review UK and EC law in order to recommend a series of actions to our Government that could be put into immediate effect to combat the fraud.
“The FWD has delivered a comprehensive set of proposals that it is currently discussing with HMRC and Treasury officials. We urgently seek their responses and actions to curb this crippling criminal activity.”