COI seeks 5m ad agency for alcohol duty stamps scheme

COI Communications is seeking an advertising agency to handle a campaign outlining a government crackdown on alcohol duty fraud. It is estimated that the business for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be worth about 5m.

The UK Duty Stamps Scheme will introduce stamps as proof that duty has been, or will be, paid on a product. The rules are due to come into force in 2006.

HMRC has already published leaflets outlining how the initiative will be used to determine whether a product is legitimate, without imposing unnecessary burdens on legal traders.

The COI has already issued a brief to advertising agencies to create a campaign to make the scheme more widely known. It is believed that Cheetham Bell JWT, HHCL/Red Cell and Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy have been shortlisted for the advertising business.

Certain alcohol products will be labelled with a stamp, which must be affixed to packaging before it can be released to the UK market.

Spirits, wine and some home-made wines will need a duty stamp, but other alcoholic drinks are exempt. Certain operators, such as ferries and airlines, could also be given exemption.

In his March 2005 Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown described the scheme as "a vital part of the Government’s strategy for tackling alcohol fraud, designed to be tough on spirits fraud while minimising compliance costs for legitimate businesses".

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