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Operating Within the Law

Operating Within the Law

Take Stock brings you news of the current legislation all operators need to be aware of.

Head: Preventing Alcohol Fraud

THE LAW: It is now an offence to buy alcohol from an unapproved wholesaler. From 1 April this year all your alcohol must be bought from an approved UK wholesaler. 

Why the new ruling?

The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) was introduced to protect operators that sell beers, wines and spirits from prosecution by helping them ensure they only buy from wholesalers who have paid duty on alcohol products. It will also contribute to recouping the £1.2bn duty revenue lost every year to criminals who sell duty-evaded stock to unsuspecting outlets.

What you must do

  • Check you are buying alcohol from an approved wholesaler
  • If you buy alcohol from your wholesaler to sell onto others, check that they have been approved too before making the purchase
  • Check your wholesaler has an AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN) – they will have been issued this once they have been approved. Any wholesaler without a URN number is trading illegally

How do you check?

  • Visit HMRC on the gov.uk website for approved wholesalers
  • Check the site regularly – not just once before purchase
  • Check the site before using a new supplier
  • Keep records to prove you have checked to safeguard any liability

The penalty

  • If you buy alcohol from an unapproved wholesaler or non-registered wholesaler you will be liable for a criminal or civil penalty, your alcohol may be seized, and you could lose your alcohol licence. You will be assessed for 100% of the lost duty and it may even lead to imprisonment.

For more info visit gov.uk/guidance/the-alcohol-wholesaler-registration-scheme-awrs

Head: Tobacco and E-cigarette Legislation

THE LAW: New tobacco plain packaging and e-cigarette legislation came into force on 20 May this year. Selling non-compliant products can now result in serious consequences for retailers.

What you must do

  • Educate and support staff – they need to fully understand the law, otherwise you could face prosecution
  • Alert customers – educate your regular customers of the changes. Offering advice will minimise frustration and ensure they still purchase from you

What can you sell

  • Tobacco in the new standardised packaging
  • Cigarette packs with a minimum of 20 cigarettes
  • Roll your own (RYO) tobacco with a minimum weight of 30g
  • Tobacco with 65% of the front and back packaging covered by health warnings
  • Unflavoured cigarettes or RYO tobacco (except menthol cigarettes)
  • E-cigarettes showing a health warning
  • E-cigarettes with a maximum of 20mg/ml of nicotine
  • E-cigarette refills with a maximum size of 10ml
  • Disposable e-cigarettes, cartridges and tanks with a maximum size of 2ml

The penalty

Operators found breaking the law could face a fine and up to two years in prison.

Head: National Living Wage

THE LAW: The National Living Wage introduced in April this year sees employees aged 25 and over having their minimum hourly rate increased to £7.50, a 4.2% increase on the previous rate of £7.20.

What is it?

The National Living Wage is a rebranding of the National Minimum Wage, however applies only to workers aged 25 and over. It represents the government’s aim to raise wages of employees aged 25 and over to £9 an hour by 2020. The decreed hourly rate will change each April until it reaches that target. In April 2017 the current rate of £7.20 increased to £7.50. After that, staff will receive £8.05 an hour in 2018 and £8.50 in 2019. As a result, one million workers will receive a pay rise.

The law states

  • School leavers receive the National Minimum Wage
  • 25s and over receive the National Living Wage
  • Workers 24 and under the minimum wage still applies

The current rates

  • Employees 25 and over: £7.50
  • Employees 21 to 24: £7.05
  • Employees 18 to 20: £5.60
  • Employees under 18: £4.05
  • Apprentices: £3.50

For more information visit gov.uk

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