To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer
(1) what estimate he has made of the (a) per-container cost and (b) costs to industry of introducing a duty-paid tax stamp on all products liable to beer duty;
(2) what consideration he has given to the reintroduction of fiscal stamps on alcohol products and their permissibility under the EU Treaty provisions on the freedom of movement of goods.
HM Revenue and Customs consulted on the introduction of beer fiscal marks in 2012. Responses to the consultation indicated (a) while costs to apply stamps to cans and bottles at the time of manufacture could be a fraction of a pence per container, for other products such as imports the costs could be as high as 10p to 15p, and (b) industry costs of at least £6 million set up costs and up to £31 million annual costs largely related to adaptations to packaging procedures.
In 2013, HMRC, in its response to a public consultation on beer fiscal marks, confirmed they would not be introduced at this time, but would explore other, less burdensome, options to tackle alcohol fraud further. Spirits drinks for sale on the UK market are already required to bear a duty stamp.
National identification marks, or fiscal marks, are provided for in Article 39 of Council Directive 2008/118. They are allowed to prevent any evasion, avoidance or abuse providing they do not create a disproportionate barrier to trade.