Tobacco: Smuggling

HM Treasury written question – answered on 16th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Palmer Lord Palmer Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of links between terrorist organisations and the illicit tobacco market in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Lord Deighton Lord Deighton The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) currently has no direct evidence that profits from tobacco fraud fund any specific terrorist groups.

The joint HMRC/Border Force strategy to tackle tobacco smuggling has been successful in driving a consistent and sustained reduction in the illicit market in the UK, reducing the market share for illicit cigarettes by more than half and hand-rolling tobacco by one-third since 2000.

The latest tobacco anti-fraud strategy ‘Tackling Tobacco Smuggling – building on our successes’ was launched in April 2011. Its objective is to achieve further sustainable downward pressure on the illicit market in cigarettes through to 2015. A copy was placed in the House of Commons library at that time.

In 2013/14, HMRC referred 328 cases for prosecution and seized 1,437 million cigarettes and 330 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco.

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