The Association of Convenience Stores raised concern on impact of the non-duty paid alcohol trade and the illicit tobacco market on the convenience sector. In a written submission to the All-Party Parliamentary Illicit Trade Group, the ACS called for more effective sanctions to tackle illicit trade.

Currently the Exchequer loses an estimated £3.8 billion in alcohol and tobacco tax revenue due to illicit sales. It also impacts the convenience sector by undercutting legitimate retailers and driving footfall away from their stores, pointed out the association.

The Parliamentary Group has called for evidence to inform its inquiry into the state of the illicit trade in the UK. In the submission, the ACS has outlined a number of recommendations including:

  • Trading standards and licensing authorities should work closer together to remove alcohol licences from retailers selling non-duty paid alcohol
  • The government should evaluate the Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme and its effectiveness
  • Extending Restricted Premise Orders and Restricted Sales Orders to include illicit tobacco as an offence.
  • Additional powers to trading standards officers to sanction retailers by using the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA) and better intelligence sharing.
  • More effective sanctions should be made available to trading standards officers, including the revocation of alcohol licences for selling illicit tobacco.

Alcohol and tobacco are both important product categories for convenience retailers, representing on average 14.3 percent and 15.4 percent of sales respectively in the UK convenience market.