FWD applauds duty fraud consultation

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has congratulated the government on its decision to tackle the illegal trade in duty-avoided alcohol alongside its proposal to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.

“This is an all-too-rare example of joined-up government,” said FWD chief executive James Bielby. “Aggressive price promotions by multiple supermarkets have an adverse effect on FWD members and their customers, thereby undermining the competitiveness of the overall grocery market.

“While minimum unit pricing will help address these inequalities, it could potentially lead to an increase in duty avoidance as it increases the profit available for criminals. The other measures announced will address that problem.”

Under the measures outlined in Government Alcohol Strategy: Choice, Challenge and Responsibility, the government will consult on the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol, a licensing scheme for wholesalers and duty stamps on beer.

“We are pleased to see an acknowledgment in the Alcohol Strategy that duty fraud costs the government up to pound;1.2bn a year and that organised criminal gangs are responsible for much of it,” said Bielby. “We welcome the government restating its commitment to tackle the issue. These steps would go a long way to substantially reducing the problem of duty fraud.

“It will also disrupt the supply of cheap alcohol and ensure beer and wine distribution remains within the control of responsible, duty-collecting wholesalers.”

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