COI issues brief for alcohol duty crackdown

COI Communications has issued a brief to a number of roster agencies for a campaign that will detail a government crackdown on alcohol duty fraud.

The task, for HM Revenue and Customs, is estimated to be worth £5 million.

It will focus on the introduction by HMRC of a new scheme that aims to provide a means of proof that UK duty has been or will be paid on alcoholic beverages.

Agencies believed to be working on the brief include Cheethambell JWT, HHCL/Red Cell and Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy.

The UK Duty Stamps Scheme, which was introduced in the March 2005 Budget, will come into force next year and will be used to determine whether alcohol products are legitimate, or illegal imports.

The campaign will explain that spirits and wine, including home-made wine with an alcohol content of more than 30 per cent, will need to carry the stamp, or incorporate it into their labelling. All other alcoholic drinks are exempt.

The campaign comes as the Government launches a drive to cut alcohol fraud by 50 per cent by 2008. The initiative will have a particular focus on spirits.

In its most recent figures, the Government reported that alcohol duty fraud for 2002/2003 was worth £250 million, down from £600 million the previous year.