The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has implored the Chancellor to freeze tobacco and alcohol duty rates at their current level when he makes his Budget Statement on 19 March.

The ACS is also calling on George Osborne to increase enforcement activity on alcohol duty fraud, particularly at local level.  

It also wants to see the “swift implementation” of the wholesaler registration scheme and for the government to make tackling duty fraud a “leading part” of its alcohol strategy.

Speaking ahead of next week’s announcement, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The extensive level of alcohol and tobacco duty fraud in the UK needs to be addressed.

“There is a direct relationship between high UK duty rates on alcohol and tobacco products and the illicit market. The continual increase will only act to increase this trend.”

ACS has also called for a range of policy interventions that will help retailers investment in their business. These include:

  • An independent review to examine the economic and social impact on non-domestic rates and options for reform.
  • A quarterly track of where new planning developments are located.
  • A mandatory 12 month limit on backbilling for both gas and electricity introduced by ALL energy suppliers in 1 January 2014.
  • An end to automatic rollover contracts introduced by all suppliers.