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Tobacco: Smuggling

Treasury written question – answered on 4th November 2019.

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Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the capability of software providers for the Track and Trace system on tobacco products to fulfil economic operator obligations to scan and record the movement and sale of tobacco; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of tobacco (a) manufacturers, (b) wholesalers and (c) retailers compliance with The Tobacco Products (Traceability and Security Features) Regulations 2019; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether HMRC will publish guidance for businesses on complying with the requirements of the Tobacco Track and Trace system to (a) scan the movement of and (b) record the sale of tobacco through the supply chain; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke The Exchequer Secretary

Economic operators are responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary software capability to comply with the track and trace obligations. As these are contractual relationships between economic operators and their software providers, HMRC has no plans to make any assessment of their capability.

Since the track and trace system came into force on 20 May, over 38,000 businesses have registered as an economic operator, and over 61,000 premises. Following engagement with the tobacco industry, HMRC assess this represents good coverage of the number of businesses expected to register. As there is a 12-month sell through period for old stock, marked stock that needs tracking and tracing is only just appearing in the UK. During this period, HMRC’s priority has been to educate and support businesses as they familiarise themselves and adapt to the new requirements.

Guidance on the tracking and tracing requirements is available on www.gov.uk. The mechanics of how businesses scan movements and record sales is not prescribed as this will depend on the type of equipment used and the systems operated by individual businesses.

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