Regulatory Key Issue: UK Beverage Alcohol Regulation
Recently, the United Kingdom has experienced a wave of public health and safety incidents related to counterfeit or adulterated alcohol. Media reports have indicated that officials have identified as much as £1.2 billion (GBP) in uncollected tax revenue lost each year in the illegal market. In addition, consumers in the U.K. have consistently encountered adulterated or counterfeit product sold outside legal distribution channels, including fake products causing death or serious illness.
H.M. Revenue and Customs (HRMC), a U.K. tax and regulatory, is soliciting comments as part of an information consultation document entitled “Alcohol Fraud: Next Steps” published August 19. WSWA submitted comments pointing out how a system replicating the three tier model could address many of these concerns.
WSWA’s comments also noted that the three tier system was designed to accomplish several objectives. The first was to ensure an orderly marketplace by preventing one tier, or one company or type of business within a single tier, from dominating the marketplace and exerting undue influence over other members of the industry or consumers, to the detriment of the public. Also guaranteed was protection against illegitimate sales and movement of product. Second, the system facilitated distribution while discouraging over-consumption and encouraging responsible consumption. Finally, the system created a process that allowed for efficient and appropriate government tax revenue collection.