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Alcohol: Duty

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 9 December 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what processes Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs use to identify alcohol which has not had duty paid on it. [HL511]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much beer was seized by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008 and (d) 2009 due to excise duty not being paid. [HL512]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much wine was seized by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008 and (d) 2009 due to excise duty not being paid. [HL513]

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses a number of processes to identify alcohol that has not had duty paid on it. These include: use of risk and intelligence information; targeted assurance testing of businesses' systems and procedures; credibility testing of alcohol supply chains; physical checks at revenue traders' premises, including warehouses, wholesalers and retailers; and the use of criminal and civil investigation techniques against the highest-risk individuals and businesses.

Specifically in relation to spirits, all bottles and other retail containers of a specific size and alcohol content held for retail sale in the UK must bear a duty stamp.

HMRC works in partnership with the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) to detect illicit alcohol entering the UK. This includes risk-based targeting and challenging of both commercial freight consignments and individual travellers arriving from other EU member states and non-EU countries.

At Budget 2009 the Government announced the renewal of HMRC's and UKBA's tackling alcohol fraud strategy. This includes a number of further measures aimed at helping HMRC identify alcohol that has not had duty paid on it. These changes are being progressed alongside the wider HMRC powers review, which will ensure that HMRC has effective powers to protect alcohol revenue duties.

HMRC publishes details of alcohol seizures on a financial year basis in its annual autumn performance report. Figures for 2005-06 to 2008-09 are provided below:

Product

2005-06 (in litres)

2006-07 (in litres)

2007-08 (in litres)

2008-09 (in litres)

Beer

2,522,253

1,915,173

4,763,006

5,780,117

Wine

292,945

303,048

1,128,117

1,304,518