Skip to main content

Gallaher

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if, following the recent High Court judgement relating to Gallaher and TEL, he will review the evidence presented during the case to assess whether enforcement action for which his Department is responsible should be taken against Gallaher; (205110)

(2) if, following the recent High Court judgement relating to Gallaher and TEL, he will review the four declarations made by Gallaher between 2004 and 2007 under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, relating to trading in Iraq, to assess whether enforcement action for which his Department is responsible should be taken.

All information held by HM Revenue and Customs, including information about the affairs of companies, and details of any potential future enforcement action, is subject to the Duty of Confidentiality in the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act (CRCA). Disclosure of information concerning a particular taxpayer would breach this duty.

The Government are committed to tackling tobacco fraud. As a result of the Government's comprehensive Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy, the illicit market share for cigarettes, which was predicted to increase to around a third if action had not been taken, has been cut from 21 per cent. in 2000-01 to around 13 per cent. in 2005-06. During that period, seizures by HMRC of genuine cigarettes produced by UK manufacturers have fallen sharply and have made up a progressively smaller share of total seizures. The latest figures are contained in Section 4 Table 8 of the HMRC autumn performance report published in December last year. This decline is an indicator of the positive effect of the actions taken by HMRC under the Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy.