This new initiative brings together law enforcers, trade bodies and key alcohol industry figures to fight alcohol fraud, which costs the taxpayer around £1 billion a year.
The Joint Alcohol Anti-fraud Taskforce (JAAT) is made up of senior officials from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Border Force, the Home Office, Trading Standards and key industry stakeholders.
The group will work to improve intelligence and information-sharing and current legislation and processes, to prevent fraud and make it more difficult for fraudsters to operate. It will build on HMRC’s Tackling Alcohol Fraud strategy, which was launched in 2010-11 to cover fraud involving all categories of alcoholic drinks.
HMRC, working with Border Force, seized over 12 million litres of duty unpaid alcohol in 2012 to 2013 and protected over £600 million of revenue, almost triple the amount protected in 2010 to 2011.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Nicky Morgan said:
Alcohol fraud illegally diverts money that could otherwise be spent on public services and reducing the deficit. The fraud, which often involves organised criminal gangs, undermines honest businesses up and down the country.
This government will not let criminals steal money which our country is legally entitled to. The Government has invested £1 billion to tackle fraud, error and debt, and will work with the alcohol industry to strengthen our efforts to tackle this billion pound crime.
HMRC’s alcohol fraud strategy involves targeting enforcement at key points of the supply chain, working with honest businesses to secure alcohol supply chains and tightening the law to make it more difficult for criminals to operate.
The Government is also publishing today the detailed summary of responses to the recent Alcohol Fraud Next Steps consultation. The Government announced at the Autumn Statement that it would introduce the measures on which it consulted. These include a new registration scheme for alcohol wholesalers and new due diligence conditions for HMRC-approved alcohol businesses, aimed at ensuring businesses only trade in legitimate supply chains. The summary of responses can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/alcohol-fraud-next-steps.