George Osborne has given alcohol wholesalers an ultimatum – demonstrate that you are trading legally or you will go out of business.
Osborne's Budget confirmed the inclusion of the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) in the Finance Bill 2015. The scheme is intended to stamp out duty evasion on beers, wines and spirits, which costs the Treasury £1.3bn a year in lost revenue. Originally proposed to government by FWD, it will require any business trading alcohol in wholesale volumes to undergo stringent tests to ensure they are trading within the law. Wholesalers must be able to prove they meet ‘fit and proper’ criteria, and carry out due diligence checks on their suppliers and customers. They just apply for registration between October and December 2015.