Budget response: Tax rise welcomed but more action needed to tackle smuggling.



Wednesday 16 March 2005

ASH news release: For immediate release: Wednesday 16th March 2005
The modest cigarette tax rise announced in today’s Budget will help to ensure cigarettes do not become more affordable but more urgent action is needed to tackle tobacco smuggling, said ASH in response to today’s Budget announcement.   The Chancellor promised some further measures to tackle the smuggling of hand-rolling tobacco although no details have yet been released.

Deborah Arnott, Director of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:

“Whilst we welcome the modest increase in tobacco tax, the Chancellor should have reinforced the tobacco reduction goal by making a strong commitment today to do more to tackle smuggling.  Although some progress has been made, the Government is still losing £2.5 billion in taxes a year.  This scandalous loss of income could be stemmed if the tobacco companies were legally required to impose stricter controls on the distribution of their products.”

“Tobacco smuggling is a global problem but the UK still has the worst record in Europe and accounts for around 10% of the world total of illicit trade. Until the Government forces the tobacco companies to implement thorough tracking and tracing measures the illegal market will continue to flourish.”

ENDS

Notes and links:

[1]  ASH Budget submission (pdf)

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