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HMRC to fast-track alcohol licences to boost hand sanitiser production

The government department said it would allow for non-drinking alcohol applications to be processed faster to increase supply in the UK.

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HMRC hopes to make it easier for manufacturers to produce more hand sanitiser (Philip Toscano/PA)

HMRC hopes to make it easier for manufacturers to produce more hand sanitiser (Philip Toscano/PA)

HMRC hopes to make it easier for manufacturers to produce more hand sanitiser (Philip Toscano/PA)

Manufacturers of hand sanitisers and gels will have their applications for the alcohol needed to produce them fast-tracked during the coronavirus outbreak, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, demand for alcohol-based hand sanitising products has increased sharply, leading to some shortages.

But current rules mean any manufacturer wanting to make the products must put in applications for using denatured alcohol, like ethanol, which takes 45 working days.

By enabling the fast-tracking of authorisations to use denatured alcohol, we are providing manufacturers with the potential to produce the extra hand sanitiser gel needed during the coronavirus outbreakHMRC

HMRC said it will prioritise applications, pushing them through in five days instead.

An HMRC spokesman said: “By enabling the fast-tracking of authorisations to use denatured alcohol, we are providing manufacturers with the potential to produce the extra hand sanitiser gel needed during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We hope that this will provide manufacturers with the support they need to meet the sudden increase in demand for their products.”

In the last three weeks, HMRC has increased the limit of authorised-use denatured alcohol in the production of hand sanitiser gels, adding 2.5 million additional litres.

Only applications for the industrial denatured alcohol (IDA) and Trade Specific Denatured Alcohol (TSDA1) used in the manufacture of sanitising hand gel are to be fast-tracked, HMRC added.

Officials are also encouraging businesses to only apply for permission to produce what they actually need, rather than anticipated demand.

PA