A letter highlighting the issues of track and trace has been sent to the UK government by The Federation Of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) and The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
It points out that the industry is worried about the timeframes it has given wholesalers and retailers to comply with regulations, and, addressing the exchequer secretary, calls on HMRC to provide additional clarity and support.
A group of wholesalers have added their names to the letter, with some previously complaining about the support from the government has provided, with all communication via a web page that was not always up to date.
The track and trace law states that tobacco manufacturers must provide businesses in the supply chain with equipment to comply with the regulations, although bespoke solutions haven’t been provided to fit in with the complexities of the convenience sector.
“Wholesalers are working hard to meet the requirements for new stock as it comes to market,” said FWD chief executive, James Bielby. “But they (wholesalers) need clear guidance on how they proceed when the scanning equipment and software is not available for technical reasons beyond their control.
“HMRC has indicated that wholesalers should continue trading as normal if they’re unable to comply because of software issues, but they need formal notification that this wouldn’t be considered non-compliance by HMRC. Retailers also need reassurance that they’re not breaking the law in such circumstances,” he added.