HC Deb 10 February 1998 vol 306 c137W
Mrs. Lait

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his current estimate of excise duty forgone by the successful smuggling or bootlegging of(a) alcohol and (b) tobacco and its products in each year since 1991.[27932]

Dawn Primarolo

HM Customs and Excise estimates of the revenue lost to the Exchequer through cross-Channel smuggling of alcohol and tobacco products in 1996 and 1997 are set out in the table:

£ million
Product type Excise duty VAT 1996 Total Excise duty VAT 1997 Total
Alcoholic drinks 135 60 195 135 65 195
Tobacco products 510 130 640 550 135 690
Total 645 190 835 685 200 885

Figures have been independently rounded to £5 million. Components may not therefore sum to the totals shown.

Figures for estimated revenue losses use Customs assumption that 70–80 per cent. of smuggled alcoholic drinks substitute for similar products in the UK. Effectively 100 per cent. of smuggled tobacco is assumed to substitute for UK purchases.

The above estimates exclude any amounts for revenue lost on alcoholic drinks and tobacco products involved in commercial fraud, smuggling in freight consignments or by air passengers. There are no official estimates for the extent of these activities. Similarly, there were no official estimates for the extent of smuggling prior to 1996.