Response from SIBA to government announcement on duty fraud
Keith Bott, chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said, “SIBA, along with other industry partners, argued that duty stamps would burden the brewing industry with additional red tape, so we applaud the government for taking the pragmatic rather than bureaucratic approach.
“We are especially grateful to the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, headed by Andrew Griffiths, for organising the duty fraud enquiry which was clearly pivotal in bringing about the decision.
“HMRC has recognised that duty fraud affects bottled and canned beer and, therefore, that illicit beer is purchased largely in the off-trade for home consumption. It is therefore another factor contributing to the decline of pub traffic. As over 80% of SIBA members’ production is draught beer, it is clearly in our interests to make sure that duty revenue is collected, and thereby avoid this distortion of the market.
“The government’s historic decision to cut beer duty in this year’s Budget was recognition that beer should be treated differently to other alcoholic drinks. By choosing not to burden the UK’s brewers with the added challenge of duty stamps, the government has again acknowledged that draught beer is a relatively low-alcohol drink, enjoyed for the most part in the sociable, supervised environment of the pub.
“SIBA is of course committed to working with the government and with our industry partners to find an effective solution to duty fraud.”