Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Fetch more corks

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has called on the government to do more to tackle alcohol smuggling and duty evasion. However, I can’t help thinking they’re missing the point, and what they’re demanding is akin to trying to stop up a gushing hosepipe with a cork. The answer, surely, is in their own hands. Reduce or eliminate the disparity in duty between the UK and our European neighbours, and the problem will disappear. Until that happens, the smuggling will continue.

And tell me, chaps, how are they getting along with fighting tobacco smuggling?


  1. Yeah, but, in the real world, that's not going to happen, is it? I don't understand why wholesalers aren't required to be registered. Everyone else is. That's a hole that could be bunged. Surely.

  2. The Dundee shopkeeper is confusing smuggled tobacco with counterfeit tobacco. Plain packaging will make little difference to smuggling. It will actually make the cornershop sale of smuggled tobacco slightly more risky. It is counterfeiters who will benefit.
    Jonathan Bagley

  3. But whether or not it's counterfeit or smuggled, the problem is still caused by excessive duty rates. And we're getting counterfeit alcohol too - remember the five guys blown up last year at an illicit vodka distillery in Boston, Lincs?

  4. As anon says, it ain't going to happen. The government will no more reduce duty on alcohol and tobacco than they will collectively jump off Big Ben.

    They will carry on ramping up the duty, and they will introduce plain packaging, regardless of the fact that it won't work. And then they'll act surprised at the fact that there is a dramatic increase in smuggling. So they will then introduce more draconian controls on cross-border shoppers (who contribute a fraction of a percent of the non-UK-duty-paid stuff coming in), so they can issue press releases telling everyone that they are "Doing Something".

    And the smugglers will be laughing all the way to the bank at these Westminster dorks living in their parallel universe.


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