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Tobacco: Belgium

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make representations to the relevant EU Commissioner on the effects on independent tobacco retailers in the United Kingdom of illegal sales of tobacco imported from Belgium. (196872)

[holding answer 26 March 2008]: HM Revenue and Customs has a strategy in place to tackle tobacco smuggling which was refreshed at Budget 2006 when the Government published a paper 'New Responses to New Challenges: Reinforcing the Tackling Tobacco Smuggling Strategy'. New measures have recently been introduced to address the smuggling of tobacco from other countries, including legislation which places an obligation on tobacco manufacturers not to facilitate smuggling, and the incorporation of a covert anti-counterfeit security mark on packs of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco. The introduction of the security mark supports legitimate retailers by creating a deterrent to counterfeit products infiltrating the retail supply chain.

In addition, HM Revenue and Customs is committed to supporting legitimate businesses and in this context works closely with the Tobacco Alliance: Retailers Against Smuggling'.