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WSTA launches fraud prevention unit

The WSTA is launching a fraud prevention unit to lead industry efforts to crackdown on fraud in the wine and spirits sectors.

The unit will work with police and customs in combating a range of issues affecting consumers and the trade, from identity theft and counterfeiting to wine investment fraud.

The new unit meets the requirements of the Information Commissioners Office and Data Protection Act for the sharing of information amongst businesses. It will enable WSTA member businesses to legally share information about actual or suspected fraudulent activity within the wine and spirit trade and where necessary liaise with police, customs and regulatory agencies.

Operation Sterling, the Metropolitan Police Service's economic prevention and disruption unit, is working closely with the WSTA to help it achieve its goals.

Acting Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, who heads Operation Sterling, said: "Our work with industry is crucial to combating fraud so we welcome this initiative set up by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

"We would advise those considering investing money, whether it be a small or large amount, to do their research and be sure that the companies or individuals they are dealing with are reputable and legitimate. We would further advise that care should be taken with personal details when entering into any financial agreement so as to avoid being conned out of your hard earned cash or having your identity stolen."

Only this month the WSTA stepped in after a member company became victim of corporate identity theft, costing in excess of £10,000. The fraudsters used fake email addresses to obtain a wine order from one of the company’s French suppliers before suspicions were aroused and the WSTA alerted the police and others in the trade.

WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said: “It’s not just consumers who suffer from fraud, it’s also damaging to legitimate businesses within the trade and we want to ensure we are taking every possible step to combat the problem.

“Our new unit provides a real focus to our work in this area and enables responsible businesses to legally share information so that we can help the authorities.”


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Notes to editors

WSTA fraud prevention unit
Membership of the unit is open to WSTA member companies. They agree to abide by the data protection principles set out by the Data Protection Act 1998, in respect to safeguarding customer information. The unit meets the requirements of the Information Commissioners Office and follows best practice in other industries, including the travel, telecoms and automotive sectors.
[email protected]

Operation Sterling
Operation Sterling is responsible for the economic crime prevention strategy for London. Launched in February 2005, Operation Sterling takes a pro-active prevention approach to reducing opportunities for fraudsters and combating economic crime. Officers host a number of industry forums in which they share best practice and work to design out fraud by reviewing and mitigating risk that the public and industry face. By focussing their activity on key crime enablers, such as virtual offices and false identity documents, they have a significant impact on the disruption of organised criminal networks.

If you would like advice on how to protect yourself against fraud please visit http://www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/index.htm

For further information about Operation Sterling please contact Claire Borgeat:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7230 4133

WSTA
The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.
We campaign to promote the industry’s interests with governments at home and abroad.
We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

For more information please contact Gavin Partington:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7089 3876
Mob: +44 (0) 7966 014058
Email:
[email protected]


WSTA Response to Lancet Report

21 February, 2011

Responding to today's report in The Lancet forecasting the impact of alcohol-related illnesses, WSTA Spokesman Gavin Partington said:

"It is regrettable that the various projections take no account of the most recent Government data showing a continued fall in consumption of alcohol and a decline in the number of deaths from alcohol related illnesses.

"The authors ignore the fact that alcohol taxes and prices are among the highest in Europe in contrast to France, a country with low prices yet cited as a nation having achieved a reduction in liver-related deaths.

"The drinks industry is rightly playing a constructive role in discussions with other stakeholders as part of the Government's public health responsibility deal. We are committed to playing our part in addressing the issues associated with alcohol misuse."


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Notes to editors

WSTA
The WSTA is the UK lobbying organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 330 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.
We campaign to promote the industry's interests with governments at home and abroad.
We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

For more information please contact Gavin Partington:
Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7089 3876
Mob:  +44 (0) 7966 014058
Email: [email protected]

WSTA statement on Responsibility Deal

5 March 2011

Commenting on today's Government announcement on the Public Health Responsibility Deal, WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said:

"The drinks industry is committed to playing its part alongside other stakeholders in tackling alcohol misuse.

"Today's announcement marks a positive step in a partnership process designed to ensure that consumers have the information they need to make informed choices.

"We look forward to making further progress in the months ahead."

 

Ends


Notes to editors

WSTA
The WSTA is the UK lobbying organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.
We campaign to promote the industry's interests with governments at home and abroad.
We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

For more information please contact Gavin Partington:
Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7089 3876
Mob:  +44 (0) 7966 014058
Email: [email protected]

 

WSTA warns against fresh tax increases

3 February 2011


The WSTA is urging the Treasury to abandon its alcohol tax escalator after retail figures for 2010 showed the UK wine market in decline with sales down 2% and sales of spirits flat.

The tax escalator threatens to deliver a 6.8%¹ tax increase on alcohol next month. If it goes ahead it would mean that in just three years tax on wine had increased by 35% and tax on spirits by 30%.

The 2010 retail data² shows that sales of wine and spirits fell in pubs and restaurants (down 4%) and shops (down 1%) as consumers reined in their spending. Against this backdrop the small increase in the value of wine sales (up 3%) reflects the impact of tax increases while industry has had to absorb rising costs of energy, transport and raw materials.

WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said:

"With the recent VAT increase adding to the weekly shopping bill, it's no time to force drinks prices up further with another inflation busting tax increase.

"The scale of tax rises on wine and spirits in recent years has cost thousands of jobs and made matters worse for households struggling to cope in difficult economic circumstances.

"Abandoning the tax escalator would help hard-pressed consumers and a sector which ought to be part of the drive to restore economic growth in the UK."
 

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Notes to editors

¹ This is based on a RPI to December 2010 of 4.8% (source: ONS, January 2011). To date HM Treasury has based its calculation on combination of RPI for 6 months prior to Budget and RPI forecast for 6 months post-Budget.
In March 2008 the Chancellor announced a 9% increase in alcohol duty and his intention to introduce a 4 year tax escalator, increasing duty rates by 2% above the rate of inflation from the time of the 2009 Budget. In March 2010 the Chancellor announced that all alcohol duty rates would increase by 2% above inflation for two further years, until 2014-15.
  
² Sales figures are provided by Nielsen and CGA Strategy.

The WSTA Budget submission can be viewed here:
images/budget/wstabudgetsub2011.pdf


WSTA
The WSTA is the UK lobbying organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 330 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.
We campaign to promote the industry's interests with governments at home and abroad.
We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.


For more information please contact Gavin Partington:
Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7089 3876
Mob:  +44 (0) 7966 014058
Email: [email protected]
 

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