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NEWS UPDATE

The All Party Parliamentary Beer Group's panel of MPs and Peers investigating beer duty fraud met on 4 June 2013 to review  progress made since they reported their recommendations for action in July 2012.

Evidence was heard from representatives of HMRC and BBPA. Please click here for note of the meeting.

The panel of backbench MPs and Peers investigating the issue first met in May 2012 to examine  the nature, scale and impact of beer duty fraud in the UK, in light of HMRC’s  consultation "Alcohol Fraud. Legislative measures to tackle existing and emerging threats to the UK alcohol duty regime".

A copy of the APPBG's report can be dowloaded here.  Commenting on its publication in July 2012,  inquiry co-chair  Andrew Griffiths MP said “Smuggling beer into the UK from France has become a highly profitable business.  As our duty differentials have increased, so, it appears, has the scale of the trade in illicit beer.  We’re not talking about chancers on day trips in white vans, so much as organised criminal gangs shipping lorry loads of beer through Dover every night, and netting £18,000 in duty alone, each time. It’s hurting legitimate businesses, as it’s undercutting them on its way into the supply chain, and once it has permeated the UK market some retailers are stocking it unwittingly, and risking their licences and livelihoods in the process. We came to the conclusion that introducing duty stamps would limit choice, add complexity and confusion, and possibly face a challenge in the European Union”.

Rt Hon John Healey MP, Co-chair, said “With perhaps one in ten cans and bottles of beer on sale in the UK not tax paid, it’s clear that the current system is failing to keep beer smuggling in check. New measures are needed, but the evidence we heard points to the current proposals for tax stamps as being neither proportionate nor targeted, and not necessarily effective.”   He continued “There’s some dispute about the size of the problem to be tackled, and we hope our report will spur all authorities and all businesses with an interest in disrupting the fraud now to work together closely to develop an agreed methodology for assessing it, and to collaborate to defeat it.  We’re calling on all parties to up their game together”.  

For notes of the evidence heard by the panel, please click on the relevant day's hearing under the 'Timetable and Evidence' tab.

For a copy of the full press release please click here

If you have any queries concerning the report or inquiry, please use the contact form or email Robert Humphreys, Secretary to the APPBG, at humhreysr@parliament.uk