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Wholesalers welcome plans for taskforce to tackle alcohol diversion fraud

Published:  09 July, 2015

The government plans to set up a new national "alcohol control room" and establish a mobile taskforce to tackle alcohol diversion fraud at duty-suspended warehouses and cash and carries.

The plans were outlined in the Budget statement to accompany yesterday's speech by Chancellor George Osborne and are forecast to reduce the duty revenue lost to alcohol fraud by £840 million over six years.

The Federation of Wholesales Distributors - which has been a consistent campaigner against illicit sales of alcohol for many years - described the news as "promising". It campaigned for the wholesaler registration scheme for alcohol, which is being phased in later this year.

Chief executive James Bielby said: "Today's announcement acknowledges the huge effect that illicit trade has on the national purse and on those wholesalers and retailers who trade within the law.

"Combined with the forthcoming registration scheme for alcohol wholesalers, this extra enforcement activity will make it very much harder for criminals to trade in duty-evaded alcohol.

"FWD members regularly cite competition with the illicit trade as their biggest barrier to growth, and we are very pleased to see that the government is listening to us and supporting law-abiding wholesalers."

Alcohol duty fraud currently costs the Treasury £1.3 billion a year.