Freeze duty and hit fraudsters

Trade groups send Osborne their budget wish lists

ALCOHOL taxes and the criminality they encourage are top of the hitlist for trade bodies trying to influence chancellor George Osborne’s Budget this month.
John Lee, public affairs advisor at the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, said: “What we need is a pro-business budget from George Osborne.

SGF’s John Lee: Time to freeze alcohol duty and NMW.
SGF’s John Lee: Time to freeze alcohol duty and NMW.
“As a priority the chancellor should freeze the National Minimum Wage at its current level. We also want to see a freeze in alcohol duty and increased resources directed towards tackling illegal alcohol. This must also apply to the illicit trade in tobacco: responsible retailers are currently losing up to £30,000 a year to the illicit trade.”
The Association of Convenience stores has also called for the chancellor to combat the black market in alcohol and tobacco.
It asks Osborne to freeze all alcohol and tobacco duty rates at their current level, make tackling duty fraud a leading part of the Government’s alcohol strategy and ensure the swift implementation of the wholesaler registration scheme.
The Forum of Private Business wants the chancellor to deliver a Budget that encourages business investment, which it says is key to a long-lasting recovery.
The group says it wants action to support small firms with rising business costs plus action to combat rising fuel costs.
The Wine and Spirits Trade Association has appealed to the chancellor to end the alcohol duty escalator a year early, saying that doing so would create over 6,000 jobs and boost public finances by £230m in 2014 alone.