mp, nick herbertThis is the text from an email that I have sent to Nick Herbert MP about tobacco taxation and its consequences.

Dear Nick

I had a conversation with my brother, Mike Denham recently and he told me that he had been invited to Downing Street for a meeting to pitch one idea that may be considered for next year budget. He asked me what my idea would be. Having suffered the unpleasantness of a midnight tobacco burglary in October 2009 my wife and I have confronted the full cost of the Government’s tobacco taxation policy.

With around 80% of the retail price of cigarettes being taxation, tobacco is the target of criminals because of this policy. In short the criminals stole £1,100 worth of cigarettes and tobacco. Our claim on our insurance company was around £8,000 that covered not only the lost tobacco, but also the damage to our shop and loss of business. The cost to Lynda and myself was much, much higher and totally uncompensated. I estimate our personal recovery cost to be in the tens of thousands of pounds with extra staffing, closed days and ’emergency time’ away from the our business.

And then of course there is the cost to the state that tobacco crime involves, the police investigations, the prosecution and jail. My pitch would be about further use of the excise due escalator which put businesses like our at greater risk and as I illustrate above a great cost is absorbed by the unfortunate retailers who are attacked. I am sure that you must realise that if honest retailers like us and thousands of others are forced out of selling cigarettes the majority of smokers will resort to the criminal market that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

Best wishes Steve