Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Calling time on duty fraud

Here we go again – alcohol smuggling is a major problem, so we need to crack down on it. How many times have we heard that before? Just a bit more police attention, just one more heave, and it will be sorted. No it won’t, just as US Prohibition was never sorted by official crackdowns, and neither has the “war on drugs”. As long as there is a glaring disparity between UK and Continental duty rates, smuggling and duty fraud will continue. The solution is in your own hands, politicians. While I’m no fan of the EU, surely this is one area where a move towards harmonisation would be hugely beneficial.


  1. Maybe you ought become a fan of the EU and advocate a wholehearted approach to engaging in it and reaping the benefits of a single market with harmonised tax rates. Or do you just want the milk without the cow?

  2. Logically in the so called single market there shjould be one rate of VAT and duty for alcoholic drinks. I vote for the French one.

  3. On the programme last night the Gov rep said we were short of money, excessive drinking a problem and no chance duty would be lowered. V interesting prog. UK duty on a truck of beer 30k. French duty 2.8k. Clever schemes explained. Also described massive automated illegal vodka factory in Leicester countryside. If this minimum price becomes law we'll have the Wild West. Surely they are not that stupid?

  4. Registration of wholesalers with HMRC would be a start. Everybody else (legit) in the business is. Or we could just cut duty to less than neighbouring EU states, then we'd get the benefit from the smuggling industry, and boost our booze producers.

  5. Booze fags etc are much cheaper in Belgium, but one has to pass the goonies in the customs shed who will lie and cheat, to relieve you of your goods!

  6. "While I’m no fan of the EU, surely this is one area where a move towards harmonisation would be hugely beneficial"

    The problem there is that if the EU were to harmonise duties on booze and fags, you can bet your bottom dollar that it would be harmonised UP to UK levels.


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