Incoming Government urged to crack down on illicit traders

New UK Gov data highlights scale of money lost

Bags that have a massive amount of counterfeit tobacco products in them from a store raid.
The Association of Convenience Stores has called on the incoming Westminster government to award more funding to HMRC to fight back against illicit trade.

NEW UK Government research has highlighted the amount of money lost from the illicit trade of counterfeit and non-duty paid products.

The new data from HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) has found that the tax gap driven from the sale of counterfeit cigarette and tobacco products alone stood at £2.2billion in the UK, with a further £0.6billion coming from non-duty paid alcohol trading.

As staggering as this figure is, the HMRC data did not list the amount of VAT lost from the vaping market. This is especially concerning following the findings of vape retailer Vape Club who said that 1.57million illegal vape devices were seized in 2023, highlighting the scale of the illicit trade in the UK.

As a result of this, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on the next Westminster government to focus their effort on cutting out the illegal trade here in the UK by prioritising enforcement against rogue sellers and supply chains.

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, said: “The Government is losing billions of pounds every year to the illicit trade, with significant levels of uncertainty remaining about the real extent of the problem and no estimate of the money lost to illicit vape sellers.

“It is crucial that whoever forms the next Government makes enforcement against illicit sellers and supply chains a priority.”