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Smuggling: Tobacco and Alcoholic Drinks

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the changes which have resulted in the volume of (a) tobacco products and (b) alcohol entering the UK by mail since the repeal of the Excise Duties (Small Non-Commercial Assignments) Relief Regulations 1986. (270703)

Since July 2007, UK excise duty has been due on all alcohol and tobacco products sent by mail from abroad. This includes gifts from one individual to another and goods that are ordered online.

It is not possible to provide an estimate of the changes in volumes of alcohol and tobacco products, seized on entry to the UK by mail since the regulations were repealed. HMRC seizes a large quantity of alcohol and particularly tobacco products arriving in the UK by mail illegally each year. However, it is not possible to distinguish between those goods which would have qualified for the relief under the regulations and those that would not.