Government takes hangover out of UK duty stamps scheme

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Financial Secretary to the Treasury, John Healey, has announced that government grants will be available to help businesses adapt to the new UK duty stamps scheme.

Three million pounds in grants have been earmarked to assist UK SMEs. The duty stamps scheme, which is being phased-in over the coming months, aims to tackle alcohol duty fraud.

Healey said: “We have listened to business throughout the development of the duty stamps scheme, and have already significantly reduced the estimated cost to business of complying with the new regulations.”

The first critical date in the scheme’s implementation is 1 October 2006, when spirits passing an excise duty point for release onto the UK market, must bear a duty stamp.

HM Revenue & Customs is now accepting applications from SMEs for one-off capital grants, which are worth up to approximately £60,000 per company. To qualify, businesses must affix duty stamps to bottles of spirits and have incurred fixed capital costs, such as new labelling machinery for bottling lines.

Further information can be obtained at the Duty Stamps website, or phone HMRC’s National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000.

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