HM Revenue & Customs is to fast-track access to a crucial ingredient needed by manufacturers of hand sanitisers and gels during the coronavirus outbreak and will “strive to process requests within five working days”.
Noting that demand for alcohol-based hand sanitising products has “increased sharply” and led to shortages in recent weeks, HMRC said today that it will support manufacturers “by ensuring they have access to the denatured alcohol they need to produce sanitisers”.
Almost all respondents to a recent Pharmacy Magazine survey said they were facing severe difficulties sourcing supplies of hand sanitiser for their community pharmacy.
HMRC must approve all applications to use denatured alcohol, which is integral to the manufacture of hand sanitiser products. It said its new measures would prioritise these requests so they can be quickly authorised.
Assurance checks are to be fast-tracked and not scrapped, HMRC stressed, adding that current standards will still apply.
It said businesses should base their applications on current rather than projected demand.
HMRC said measures it had taken over the past three weeks had already led to 2.5 million additional litres of hand sanitiser gel being produced.
A HMRC spokesperson 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.
“HMRC will continue to work with the industry to ensure we are taking all possible steps to support production.”