Finally someone in the House of Commons has woken up to the fact legislation on tobacco tax (and indeed plans for plain packaging) have serious drawbacks.
The main reason that people resort to buying tobacco on the black market is the excessively high rate of taxation. 85% taxation is extremely excessive by anyone’s standards and openly encourages tax avoidance.
The lesson was hard learned in the 18th century. As a result of the Napoleonic wars alcohol, textiles, and tobacco imports were embargoed by the Government. This resulted in a very lucrative smuggling trade, and in the establishment of what is now HM Customs and Excise. Some of the wealthiest families in the country gained...