‘Punitive’ taxation under attack

| February 24, 2016

The UK smokers’ group Forest has launched a six-day advertising blitz on the political online advertising network MessageSpace urging the Chancellor, George Osborne, to rethink the government’s tobacco taxation policy.

The ‘Be Fair To Smokers’ advertisements are part of Forest’s Axe The Escalator campaign that calls on the Chancellor to stop increasing tobacco duty above inflation.

Starting yesterday, a series of advertisements was due to run for six days over two weeks, enjoying total exposure on websites and blogs including Conservative Home, Guido Fawkes, Labour Uncut, Labour List, Liberal Democrat Voice and UK Polling Report.

The advertisements link to a microsite (http://axetheescalator.com/) that enables people to write directly to their members of parliament.

The Axe The Escalator campaign was launched by Forest in response to what it sees as the ‘punitive level’ of tobacco duty in the UK.

During the last parliament, tobacco taxation increased by more than 40 percent. The combined tax on the cheapest cigarettes on sale in the UK is 88 percent.

“Excessive taxation is unfair on Britain’s eight million adult smokers,” said Forest director Simon Clark.

“It discriminates against law-abiding consumers, especially those who are elderly or from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

“It’s also unfair on legitimate retailers who are competing for business with criminal gangs and other less scrupulous shopkeepers.

“Even the government loses out. In 2014/15 an estimated £2.6 billion in revenue was lost as a result of illicit trade and cross-border shopping.

“It makes no sense to increase tobacco taxation any further. We urge the Chancellor to do the right thing and axe the tobacco escalator.”

Category: Breaking News

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