Health groups renew call for tobacco levy & tax rises in 2016 Budget

11 March 2016.  In a joint submission to the Chancellor in advance of next week’s Budget, ASH and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies are calling for a sustained increase in tobacco taxes together with a levy on the tobacco industry to be used to help people stop smoking and discourage uptake. [1] In addition the health groups recommend the Government set new targets to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco.

The submission makes a number of recommendations including:

  • Corporation tax on tobacco manufacturers to be set at 28% (a return to the level for 2010)
  • An increase in the tobacco tax escalator from 2% above inflation to 5% above inflation
  • A levy on the tobacco industry to raise £500 million to fund an evidence-based strategy to reduce smoking
  • A Minimum Consumption Tax for all tobacco products

The proposal to impose a levy on the tobacco industry is a key recommendation of ASH’s policy report, ‘Smoking Still Kills’ which has the support of over 120 health and welfare organisations. [2] Cancer Research UK is also calling for a levy via its “Cough Up” campaign [3]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“While public health is facing funding cuts the tobacco industry continues to reap huge profits from a product that kills around 100,000 people every year in the UK. It’s time the peddlers of death and disease were made to pay for the harm they cause. The Chancellor has acknowledged that it is ‘fair to ask the tobacco industry to make a greater contribution’ but he is yet to turn words into action.” [4]


Notes and Links:

[1] 2016 Budget submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. ASH/UKCTAS
[2] Smoking Still Kills proposes new targets for a renewed national strategy to accelerate the decline in smoking prevalence over the next decade. The report sets out short-term objectives and longer term aims.
[3] Cancer Research UK. “Cough Up” campaign
[4] HM Treasury Autumn Statement Dec 2014 para 1.252