Tobacco: Smuggling

Treasury written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Martyn Day Martyn Day Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Public Health and Primary Care)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will be responsible for holding the supply chain data for tobacco products entering the UK as part of track and trace arrangements.

Photo of Martyn Day Martyn Day Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Public Health and Primary Care)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made a comparative assessment of the potential merits of incorporating an internationally-recognised tax stamp as part of the UK’s tobacco track and trace regime and a security label to safeguard the UK’s tobacco tax revenue and reduce illicit tobacco flows; and whether his Department plans to introduce such a tax stamp.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

Now the transition period has ended the UK will operate a standalone tobacco track and trace system, with Northern Ireland forming part of both the UK and EU systems.

The UK’s track and trace service provider ‘De la Rue’ will be responsible for holding all data generated by the tracking of products manufactured in, or imported into the UK up to the first point of retail. The EU will also continue to hold data in respect of Northern Ireland at the end of the transition period. HM Revenue and Customs will have full access to the data in respect of the UK track and trace arrangements.

Alongside the introduction of the track and trace system, a new anti-tamper proof security label was introduced in May 2019 for all packs of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco destined for the UK market. The anti-counterfeit security label incorporates overt and covert authentication elements, which complement the track and trace system to prove the authenticity of the product. As such, the government has no plans to introduce tax stamps for tobacco products.

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