HC Deb 13 November 2001 vol 374 cc605-6W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what legal basis Customs and Excise sell the impounded vehicles of individuals who have used them to breach their personal allowances for the importation of tobacco and alcohol. [12195]

Mr. Boateng

[holding answer 5 November 2001]: Where a vehicle has been used for the carriage, handling, deposit or concealment of anything liable to forfeiture, that vehicle is itself liable to forfeiture to the Crown under s141(1)(a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. Any such vehicle is forfeit once a month has passed and no appeal has been received, or where there is an appeal and the Magistrates find in favour of Customs and Excise. The Commissioners of Customs and Excise will dispose of forfeit vehicles on behalf of the Crown in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

People travelling to the UK from other EU countries are entitled to bring into the UK, without charge, alcohol and tobacco which they have purchased tax-paid elsewhere in the EU, if it is solely for their own use. Customs do not enforce any absolute limits on such purchases, but travellers bringing in goods in excess of the Minimum Indicative Levels, set out in EC Directive 92/12/EEC, may be required to satisfy Customs that the goods are for their own use.

Mr. Laws

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was derived from selling vehicles impounded by Customs and Excise because they were used to breach personal allowances for the importation of tobacco and alcohol; and how many of such impounded vehicles have been sold, in each year for the past four years. [12218]

Mr. Boateng

[holding answer 7 November 2001]: The information is available only in respect of the sale of vehicles seized for all types of Customs offences. The revenue from the sale of such vehicles for the last four years was:

Year £
1997 43,075
1998 32,585
1999 120,261
2000 523,951

The number of vehicles sold is not recorded.

Mr. Gibb

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many motor vehicles were seized on the grounds that they were being used for the illegal importation of spirits, wines, beer or tobacco products in 2000; and what the total proceeds of sale were. [13264]

Mr. Boateng

Customs record the number of vehicles seized for all Customs offences on a financial year basis. Figures for the number of vehicles seized in 2000–2001 were published in the Government's response to the independent report by John Rogues into "The Collection of Excise Duties in HM Customs and Excise" (House of Commons command 5329, July 2001), a copy of which was placed in the Library on 19 July.

The total proceeds of sale from those seized vehicles which were subsequently sold in 2000 was £523,951.