Recommendations on ways to tackle the illicit trade have been made by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) in response to the All-Party Parliamentary Illicit Trade Group’s call for evidence to inform its inquiry into the state of the illicit trade in the UK.
ACS raised concerns about the impact of the non-duty paid alcohol trade and the illicit tobacco market. Currently the Exchequer loses an estimated £3.8bn in alcohol and tobacco tax revenue due to illicit sales. The illicit trade also impacts the convenience sector by undercutting legitimate retailers and driving footfall away from their stores.
In the submission, ACS outlined a number of recommendations that the All-Party Parliamentary Group should consider as part of their inquiry on how to tackle the illicit trade in the UK, including:
• trading standards and licensing authorities should work closer together to remove alcohol licences from retailers selling non-duty paid alcohol;
• the government should evaluate the Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme and its effectiveness;
• extending Restricted Premise Orders and Restricted Sales Orders to include illicit tobacco as an offence;
• additional powers to trading standards officers to sanction retailers by using the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA) and better intelligence sharing; and
• more effective sanctions should be made available to trading standards officers, including the revocation of alcohol licences for selling illicit tobacco.