Whisky makers in Scotland face a huge bill if government plans to impose tax stamping on spirit bottles by 2006 go ahead. Alistair Darling, the Scottish Secretary, warned that unless other methods to combat duty fraud can be found, the tax stamping of spirit bottles would go ahead. It would be "grossly irresponsible" for the government not to tackle spirit duty fraud, which costs the taxpayer some £600m a year, Darling told MPs during Scottish question time. However, whisky producers slammed the move, which was initially announced in the chancellor's pre-Budget report. The Scotch Whisky Association claimed it could cost the industry £280m to implement. If the proposals are implemented, imported bottles of spirits will have to be stamped "Duty Paid", similar to cigarette packets.