Sin tax measures on alcohol and tobacco have cost the Government more than £31bn in just five years, the TaxPayers’ Alliance has found.

The analysis of HMRC figures found that the illicit trade in alcohol and tobacco products caused a tax gap of around £31.6bn between 2010 and 2015.

“HMRC needs to take decisive action, not introduce policies that make it worse,” the report said.

John O’Connell, TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive, added: “Our ludicrously complicated, punitive tax system affects frontline services by depriving the Treasury of revenue lost to the black market, all the while lining the pockets of those peddling dodgy tobacco and alcohol.”