Tobacco duty rise will fuel illicit trade

| March 20, 2014

The director of the U.K. smokers’ group Forest, Simon Clark, has criticized yesterday’s budget increase on tobacco duty, which was 2 percent above the rate of inflation.

“Recent history shows that increasing tobacco duty above inflation fuels illicit trade and costs government money,” he said.

“The treasury loses billions of pounds to illicit traders every year. A further increase in duty will merely encourage more people to take advantage of the huge savings available on the black market.

“Law-abiding consumers are being penalized while poor and elderly smokers will be hardest hit.”

The tobacco tax increase is expected to raise the retail price of a pack of 20 cigarettes by about 28 pence.

The chancellor delivered some good news, however. His budget measures will cut the price of beer by 1 pence a pint, so those pack-a-day smokers used to downing 28 pints of beer a day will break even during their short, happy lives.

Category: Breaking News

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