Chancellor George Osborne has announced a new registration scheme for alcohol wholesalers in a bid to tackle alcohol fraud.

The register will be run by HMRC from 2016 as a way of returning the 9% of beer and 6% of wine currently sold illegally in the UK to the legitimate supply chain.

The decision follows a consultation on the measure, which was initially proposed by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) four years ago.

A database of registered companies enabling suppliers and retailers to check that their distribution partners are trading within the law.

Welcoming the announcement, FWD chief executive James Bielby said: “With this announcement HMRC has the tools to ensure that only law-abiding wholesalers can buy or sell alcohol.

“While the new regime will place an administrative responsibility on FWD members and others who trade legally, it will expose and exclude those who are breaking the law.”

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “The trade in non-duty paid alcohol is blighting communities throughout the country, which has been made possible by a gaping hole in the regulation of the supply chain. Registration of wholesalers has a vital role to play in shutting this down.”

Both organisations said they would work closely with government to ensure the scheme is effective.