The Federation of Wholesale Distributors urged the government to go ahead with proposals to introduce tax stamps for beer as its consultation on alcohol fraud closed this week.
The fiscal marks would recoup £500m a year lost to the taxpayer and protect thousands of shops from accidentally buying illicit supplies, chief executive James Bielby said. “We believe this is a proportionate and effective response,” he added.
Beer sales from legitimate wholesalers had declined by 15% in volume in the past four years, the FWD said in its response to HMRC’s consultation.
However, the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group condemned duty stamps as “superficially simple” and “extremely problematic”. Its study, which received funding from 10 brewers or interest groups including AB InBev, Heineken and Camra, said the data was not good enough and the move would place a disproportionate burden on the industry.
Small Independent Brewers Association chairman Keith Bott warned that having to label domestic and export products differently would “effectively close the export market” to small brewers.