HMRC 'soft on alcohol smugglers'


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Indy Politics

Customs officials were criticised today for failing to crack down on criminal gangs who dodge alcohol tax at an estimated cost to the Treasury of more than £1bn.

MPs claimed HM Revenue and Customs appeared to be reluctant to prosecute offenders after they found 20 successful cases had been brought over the four years to 2009-10.

HMRC has put the gap between the amount of duty due and the amount collected at around £1.2bn, but its information is inadequate, the Public Accounts Committee said. Richard Bacon MP said: "The department needs to strengthen its intelligence by developing better links with the industry, the UK Border Force and other EU states."