HMRC should do more on illicit booze

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While it is great to see headlines like ‘HMRC to turn off taps on black market booze’, it is depressing that it is consulting lawyers about repayments of UK duty and the VAT implications.

It seems to me crazy that someone cannot quietly and studiously overview the duty repayments, rather than allow a computer to pop a repayment of £20,000 or £30,000 into someone’s account just because all the boxes are ticked.

‘Did that load actually go to France?’ does not seem an unreasonable question to ask if we are to avoid robbing the UK of much-needed duty and stop promoting an unfair sub-trade.

Raids, I suppose, work. Better, though, would be the cessation of the supply source. Hard-pressed retailers have been conditioned to buy at unrealistic prices from white vans to fulfil price points generated by the multiples.

Peter Lowrie, managing director, Peter Lowrie & Co

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