The FWD has welcomed an announcement in the Comprehensive Spending Review that HMRC will receive a £900m cash injection to help it fight tax evasion, including alcohol duty fraud.
By giving HMRC more funding the government said it hoped to recoup £7bn extra revenue in dodged taxes. The FWD has long been campaigning for the government to crack down on the UK’s £1bn alcohol tax fraud problem and this month wrote to the Treasury warning it not to cut HMRC’s funding.
“It shows the government has listened to our concerns and is increasing its investment rather than cutting resource,” said FWD CEO James Bielby. “It sends a strong message to fraudsters that the government is taking the problem seriously.”
The details of how the funding would be allocated have yet to be announced but Bielby hoped the money would allow HMRC to enforce its powers, introduced earlier this year, to fine anyone caught in possession of duty-avoided alcohol. He added that the FWD would continue to work with HMRC to help it crack down on duty fraud, which threatened the survival of some of its wholesale members. Their alcohol prices were being undercut by criminals that avoid paying duty and VAT, he said.