HC Deb 05 December 1996 vol 286 c741W
Mr. Cummings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the loss in tobacco tax revenue for(a) 1995–96 and (b)1996–97 arising from (i) legal and (ii) illegal imports. [6899]

Mr. Oppenheim

Customs' latest estimate of total tax revenue—excise duty and VAT—lost from legitimate personal imports of tobacco products purchased duty paid in other EU member states is £80 million for the calendar year 1995. Customs estimate that total tax revenue of £70 million was lost from this activity in calendar year 1994.

Customs' current estimate of revenue evaded by smuggling of tobacco products is £560 million per year. This figure does not include any amount for commercial fraud. The actual loss to the Exchequer could be less than the amount evaded if some smuggling represents additional consumption rather than substituting for similar goods bought in the UK. Customs have no official estimate of the extent of such additional consumption, if any. There was no previous official estimate of revenue evaded by smuggling.