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Ecofin: 1 December Agreement

Lord Bruce of Donington asked Her Majesty's Government:

15 Jan 1998 : Column WA209

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Financial Secretary to the Treasury wrote to the chairman of the Lords Select Committee on the European Communities on 12 January 1998 with precise details of the Ecofin Council's agreement of 1 December on harmful tax competition, including the code of conduct on business taxation.

Cross-Border Shopping and Smuggling: Revenue Losses

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimate of the loss of revenue as a result of the evasion of duty and the loss of income from smuggling of (a) alcoholic drink; and (b) tobacco and tobacco products, in 1996 and in 1997;

    What is the estimate of revenue lost from cross-border shopping in each of the last three years; and

    What is the official estimate of the volume of hand rolling tobacco consumed in the United Kingdom which is either smuggled or purchased abroad.

15 Jan 1998 : Column WA210

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The following table sets out the Customs latest estimates of revenue losses (excise duty and VAT) through legitimate cross-border shopping in calendar years 1994 to 1996.

Revenue lost to the Exchequer from legitimate cross-border shopping

£ million
199619951994
235230230

The Customs estimate of the volume of hand rolling tobacco consumed in the United Kingdom, which is either smuggled or purchased abroad, is about 5,200 tonnes. This estimate is based on the Customs latest estimates for smuggling for 1997 and legitimate cross-border shopping for 1996. It does not take into account legitimate purchases of duty-free tobacco.

The table below sets out the Customs estimate of revenue losses (duty and VAT) to the Exchequer through smuggling of alcohol and tobacco in calendar years 1996 and 1997.

Revenue lost to the Exchequer from smuggling
£ million

19971996
Alcohol195195
Tobacco690640
Total885835

Revenue receipts include amounts for VAT estimated on the basis of ONS data on consumer expenditure.




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