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Published:  23 July, 2008

A cross-party committee of MPs urged the Government to reconsider the introduction of tax stamps earlier this week and said: We are convinced that there has to be a better alternative.' The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) welcomed the report, on the eve of the Finance Bill debate on tax stamps. Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: Today's cross-party report is clear - tax stamps are not the way forward in tackling spirits fraud. The committee has consulted widely and concluded that tax stamps are ineffective, that the scheme is based on flawed figures and will damage industry. We welcome the recognition that it would be "reckless" to proceed when the National Audit Office has raised serious doubts on the fraud estimates on which this policy is based. We note that the committee is "far from convinced" that the Government has fully considered the alternatives.'