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A quarter of corner shops could close due to tobacco smuggling

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A new survey has found that 23 per cent of corner shops in the South East are under threat due to lost sales from tobacco smuggling and cross-border shopping. The figure is up from last year when the survey found that 15 per cent in the region were under threat. The survey by the Tobacco Retailers' Alliance (TRA) also found that nearly a half of corner shop owners – 45 per cent - have considered reducing staff due to lost sales from tobacco smuggling and cross-border shopping, up from a third (32 per cent) in 2012. Debbie Corris, shopkeeper and South East spokeswoman for the TRA said: "These results show that tobacco smuggling is not only a threat to the livelihoods of independent retailers but one that continues to worsen. "The high levels of tax on tobacco mean that a smuggler selling at half the price I charge will make more money selling his tobacco here than almost anywhere else in the EU. "The government needs to allow tax levels in the other member countries to catch up with those in the UK so that smugglers do not see the UK as the most profitable place to ply their illegal trade." The EU is currently considering whether to ban large ranges of tobacco products from retailers' shelves including packs of cigarettes under 20, packs of loose tobacco under 40gms, menthol cigarettes and "slim" cigarettes, as well as dramatically increasing the size of health warnings. Ms Corris added: "If the EU bans these products, it will play in to the hands of the smugglers who will happily be able to provide them to anyone that wishes, no matter what their age. "This will affect the livelihoods of independent retailers across the UK and ensure that the criminal activity of tobacco smuggling blights our communities for years to come."

A quarter of corner shops could close due to tobacco smuggling


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