HC Deb 24 November 1977 vol 939 cc859-60W
Mr. Hoyle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect he estimates the EEC tax regulations will have on the price of plain and tipped cigarettes; what effect these EEC tax regulations will have on the Government's policy of encouraging people to smoke low tar cigarettes; and whether he will reconsider his decision to implement the tax changes.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

The restructuring of the United Kingdom tobacco duty to accord with EEC obligations will take effect on 1st January 1978 in accordance with legislation passed by Parliament in the Finance Act 1977.

This restructuring involves the replacement of a duty charged on weight of tobacco by a duty charged partly at a flat rate per cigarette and partly as a percentage of the retail price. The effect on the price of any particular cigarettes will therefore depend on their retail prices, but one general consequence of the change will be to remove the discrimination, which has existed with a duty charged on the weight of leaf, between plain cigarettes, which are among those with the highest yields of tar, and filter cigarettes. In view of the smoking patterns which have developed over recent

Mr. Robert Sheldon,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 21st November, 1977; Vol. 939, c. 537], gave the following information

The figures are as follows:

years, however, there are good grounds for believing that a fall in the price of plain cigarettes should not give rise to any significant increase in their consumption, which it remains the Government's policy to discourage.

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