Tuesday 11 January 2011

Lay The Blame Where It Belongs, BBC

A BBC spokesman said the investigation revealed that more than half of all hand-rolled tobacco in Scotland was either counterfeit or smuggled and one in five cigarettes smoked was fake.

He said: "Using secret filming, the investigation exposes the gangs which are costing British tax-payers £4bn in lost revenue a year."
Err, not really, no.

The gangs aren't costing the country anything at all. They are merely stepping in to fill a market exclusively created by the government's fantastically over-optimistic taxing of tobacco. Contraband rates of 50% and 20% don't come about by chance, you know.

The only people 'costing' the country money are politicians who seem happy to refuse maximum revenue by levying unrealistic duty rates well in excess of what the consumer is prepared, or able, to pay. Up to £4bn worth, apparently.

Enough to comfortably cover all of the cost of smoking to the NHS which the same financially careless politicians keep bleating about.

Still, when have the realities of life and economics ever entered the debate about tobacco, eh?


Smoking Hot said...

When are we going to get a BBC investigation into the dubious tactics used by the UKBA against legal EU shoppers? :)

bnzss said...

'Still, when have the realities of life and economics ever entered the debate about economics, eh?'


The witch from Essex said...

It is every smokers duty to avoid paying tax on tobacco products in this country.

I can't understand why there are ANY U.K. 'duty paid' cigarettes or tobacco products in circulation.

The only reason must be that smokers must enjoy giving money to the very people that have 'denormalised' them and made them social pariahs.

Northampton Saint said...

evidence again that the Laffer curve isn't just for income tax

PT Barnum said...

The reason it's only 50% and 20% is not a love of paying money to Arnott and Co., it's that everyone is limited either by their access to 'man with a van' (I don't have one) or to tobacco imported from the EU or further afield (which I do have by proxy). Not everyone can travel or tap into a local network. More outreach work needed, methinks.

The witch from Essex said...

Maybe one of the reasons that smokers have been forced out of pubs, is that a lot of the tobacco and cigarettes that were for sale 'privately' was always available.
Most pubgoers were smokers and that was where business was done.
Fortunately, I have not bought tobacco or cigarettes in the U.K. for over a quarter of a century. With family close to Dover and 'Essex Boys' all around, nobody I know buys U.K. duty paid products.
It would be brilliant if an 'underground' movement could take off and supply everyone in the U.K. \now that would upset a few people !!

Anonymous said...

I thought fake cigarettes where chocolate? We used to love those as kids.

And what on earth is counterfeit tobacco? Shredded wheat?

Anonymous said...

I was once in a pub, and got talking to a very distant friend Of A Friend OAF OAF who claimed to work for Customs and Excise.

They'd ditched their cannabis searching border controls for the most part and were looking for fags from the Continent in transit vans and lorries intead.

Anecdotal, but there you go.

Anonymous said...

Grow your own baccy - It's SIMPLES!!!

Dick Puddlecote said...

SH: Well, you have strong evidence, don't hide it. Send it to the BBC and if they don't follow it up, make a fuss about it at yours.

BenS: True enough. ;)

Salegamine: We all loved them as kids, they were banned a long time ago, though. The way this administration is going, they'll be banning candy lipstick soon, too.

See what they did there?

Smoking Hot said...

My experience and others l know can state categorically that the UKBA are obsessed with cigarettes/tobacco that shoppers buy in the EU and will do virtually anything to relieve the shoppers of their goods.

Smoking Hot said...

All in good time, Dick. :)

Anonymous said...

I was going to ask how tobacco can be 'counterfeit', but I was beaten to it!
These ideas are just another
manifestation of propaganda.

Take heroin. Heroin is banned, therefore, it does not exist as far as government is concerned. If people mix this stuff with other stuffs, the then the resulting stuff is no different from the original stuff - it does not exist. The same sort of thing occurred in the USA in prohibition. Because alcohol was prohibited, it did not exist. So all sorts of home brewed stuff was being said to be alcohol, or not. Only when people began to poison themselves and others did some sort of common sense re-surface.

Now we have to go through it all again, but much more slowly.

What is very evident to me is that the whole conduct of this country's affairs is gradually being drowned by CONTRADICTIONS, and that almost all of these contradictions result from Government activity.

Government has its place. We need COLLECTIVE security, both internally and externally. We need rules to live peacefully together. We need to protect ourselves against those who would enslave us - both internally and externally. We need collective health provisions on the grounds that any one of us can become ill or suffer an accident. Where things go wrong, as we are beginning to see, is when the provisions become more important than the individuals for the protection of whom the provisions were originally made. That is when the CONTRADICTIONS appear.

The obvious one concerns tobacco. The Government want:

a. People to stop smoking, but

b. The revenues from tobacco duty.

We are living our lives in confusion because of the contradictions.

Anonymous said...

This is what they said in California, USA. This last summer was a big to-do in the Sacramento Bee, main propaganda rag out of the state capital - the Board of Equalization, which collects tobacco and sales taxes, put out results that tobacco taxes had plummeted by nearly $800,000,000, probably over $1B if it were to add in for sales tax on top of tobacco tax.

So they make the announcement and have state anti-smoking health officials applauding the loss of revenue as meaning better health for all of Californians and claiming based on tax revenues, that smoking must be down to a very low percentage, maybe 10% to 15% along the very strictly smoke-banned major cities around SF Bay and LA.

This is in a state that is for all intents and purposes, bankrupt - they were applauding the loss of $1B in revenue. Entire school districts have been defunded, buildings sold off to developers, some cities already in bankruptcy and the state close to follow with 5 long years of income and sales tax increases necessary to fund swollen government payrolls and pensions.

But, starting this year in California, the state is requiring a new holographic shiny 3-D type tax revenue stamp on all cigarettes sold within the state, to make it easier to catch counterfeiters and importers from other states bringing it in illegally.

So if they are applauding the loss of revenue in July, by January of this year, they are requiring holographic tobacco tax stamps trying to reduce the amount of revenue loss.

How's that for saying one thing while doing another.

They're all the same - and Laffer Curve is a good example. Lower the taxes, eliminate the bans or allow smoking in smoking-rooms like in olden days, restore free choice and civility and maybe people wouldn't have to run, duck, hide and cover - including from whom they make their purchases.

Anonymous said...

These smugglers are not criminals they are heroes !
I never buy tobacco here ,do they think i'm bloody stupid or something ?
Prohibitive taxes = smuggling.
And there ain't a damn thing the morons can do about it.
They cannot even stop illegal drugs comin in.
Even though they spin it to make it seem that they do.

Woodsy42 said...

Yes anonymous, I am gearing up to grow my own tobacco, but you do realise they have that covered already? You are supposed to pay the duty on all tobacco you grow that is cured suitable for smoking, even for home use?

Anonymous said...

What in the same way cannabis growers pay tax for loft space ?

Dick Puddlecote said...

Woodsey: As I understand it, 'samples' are non taxable. A sample is anything short of harvesting the lot. ;)

Angry Exile said...

The Laffer Curve: not just for income tax.

dunhillbabe said...

I too have been buying my cigs abroad for years - tho prices in Holland have rocketed to near UK levels, and Spain also hiked up the tax last year. Even if prices elswhere reach the level of those in the UK, I would still buy them abroad rather than pay tax in the UK to the government of the day - as the new boys are just as stinkingly hypocritical as the old lot were on the subject.

I trust that anyone buying 'knock off ' fags has the sense to use a cigarette case - this should be mandatory anyway so as to stick two up to the health warnings and pictures plastered all over the (soon to be plain) packaging.

Ed Butt said...

Counterfeit tobbaco?

Synthetic nicotine, OK but how does anyone forge vegetable matter?

Let's not be too hard on HMRC. We can't expect overworked, underpaid civil servants to know words like contraband.

PT Barnum said...

German prices on tobacco are still good, half that of UK prices. And I am much happier paying duty to the German government than to ASH.