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Tobacco Smuggling

Volume 264: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1995

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take to reduce tobacco smuggling into the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [38040]

Customs and Excise will continue to take vigorous action against those who smuggle tobacco goods. Working closely with the trade and developing intelligence to identify offenders remains the best method of achieving successful detections.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what numbers of Customs and Excise officers have been involved in pursuing tobacco smuggling into the United Kingdom in each of the last five years. [38041]

The duties of Customs and Excise officers cover a wide range of revenue and prevention functions. Officers are not normally assigned to deal with a single commodity.The information requested is not available.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the loss of revenue in each of the last five years caused by the smuggling into the United Kingdom of (a) hand-rolling tobacco, (b) cigarettes, (c) pipe tobacco and (d) cigars. [38082]

It is particularly difficult to make meaningful estimates of smuggled tobacco goods. What can be relied upon however is the number of detections made by Customs and Excise. In the period from 1 January 1993 to 31 August 1995 there were 4,124 detections of smuggled tobacco goods representing a revenue value of some £7.05 million.The information requested for the last five years is not available. However following recent discussions with the trade, Customs are actively considering methods of deriving credible estimates of smuggling of tobacco goods.