Wholesalers are keeping up the pressure on the government to tighten the net on duty fraudsters who they say are stealing business from legitimate traders.

FWD director general John Murphy said he had been disappointed not to see the issue raised in Gordon Brown's pre-Budget report this month. Murphy now hopes to see a consultation on the issue begin as early as next month.

In November the FWD presented HM Revenue and Customs with a specially commissioned report on UK and EU law recommending a series of proposals that could reduce duty fraud. One was to remove the option of duty drawback, which allows suppliers to claim a duty rebate on goods that are due for export before they are shipped overseas.

FWD is recommending the rebate should not take place until the goods have actually been sold abroad as often stocks are being diverted and then sold in the UK at lower prices than the legitimate operators.