UK Government announces double digit percentage increase on hand-rolling tobacco duty
DUTY charges on hand-rolling tobacco options are set to increase by more than 10% this evening (22 November), the UK Government has revealed.
As part of its Autumn Statement, chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the government would “increase duty on hand-rolling tobacco by an additional 10% above the tobacco duty escalator.”
This would result in a total 12% increase on hand-rolling tobacco options due to the standard 2% increase on all tobacco products as part of the Tobacco Duty escalator.
Undoubtedly a blow to plenty of retailers in the sector, this will now see hand-rolling options increase in price to £412.32 per kg which works out at an approximate of £2.21 impact on consumers in duty per 30g pack of rolling tobacco, an increase of 46p from March this year.
Additionally, while a duty freeze on alcohol products was announced, tobacco duty across remaining products will increase by the standard 2%, in line with the duty escalator.
Smokers rights campaigners, Forest, has slammed the move from the chancellor as a “punitive attack on working class smokers”.
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “The chancellor has just raised two fingers to working class people across the country.
“Raising duty on hand-rolled tobacco by such a punitive amount is going to push more smokers further into poverty or into the hands of illegal traders including criminal gangs.
“This is a clear attack on smokers from poorer backgrounds, many of whom use hand-rolled tobacco because, until now, it’s been cheaper than buying manufactured cigarettes.
“Instead of punishing adults who smoke with punitive taxation designed to force them to quit, the government should focus on the underlying reasons why a greater proportion of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are smokers.
“Often it’s because of their environment but, instead of improving the conditions in which many people live, this Tory government is determined to force smokers to give up a habit that may relieve some of the stress caused by their environment.”