HC Deb 04 February 1998 vol 305 c711W
Mr. Fallon

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the manpower and resources available to HM Customs and Excise to combat the illegal market in tobacco product supplies from outside the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [26537]

Dawn Primarolo

Customs and Excise keep their strategy and the deployment of their resources in countering tobacco smuggling under constant review. In addition, the Government have recently completed a review of alcohol and tobacco fraud and smuggling. The review has been conducted in partnership with the alcohol and tobacco industries in order to tackle the very real problems of smuggling, particularly of tobacco products. The findings of the review are being considered in the run-up to the spring Budget.

Dr. Marek

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of loss to the Exchequer as a result of bootlegged and smuggled tobacco products and alcohol in the latest year for which figures are available. [26507]

Dawn Primarolo

[holding answer 30 January 1998]: HM Customs and Excise estimate that the revenue (excise duty and VAT) lost to the Exchequer through cross-Channel smuggling of alcohol and tobacco in 1997 was about £885 million (£690 million from tobacco products, £195 million from alcoholic drinks). There are no official estimates for the revenue lost through smuggling in freight consignments or by air passengers.