Rebecca Long Bailey – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the HM Treasury

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Rebecca Long Bailey on 2016-04-19.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses had signed up for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme by the 31 March 2016 application deadline; whether the number of businesses was in line with the 20,000 businesses that HM Revenue and Customs estimated could be required to register; and what steps are being taken to tackle any shortfall in numbers.

Damian Hinds

From April 2017, HMRC will be making publicly available details of alcohol wholesalers who are approved. From then, retailers who buy from unapproved wholesalers will be liable to a fine.

HMRC is now assessing the applications it has received against the scheme’s approval criteria. The number of applications received are lower than HMRCs initial estimate of 21,000 businesses that could be wholesaling alcohol. There could be a number of reasons for this, and HMRC is currently comparing the applications received with original expectations and encouraging businesses that have not applied to do so, to mitigate penalties and the likelihood of enforcement action.

Where businesses have been purposefully fraudulently trading, HMRC will take action. It is too early to report outcomes of any investigations into illicit trading that HMRC are undertaking since the introduction of the scheme.