Letters, Monday, December 9, 2013

Have your say

Plain packaging not answer to smoking

I WRITE in response to the Echo article, Review of cig packets, (November 29).

 Since 2011, I have been conducting research in order to gain intelligence and understanding of the illicit trade in cigarettes across the United Kingdom.

 It is clear to me that poorly thought through, unproven regulation will fuel the illegal market, making the situation worse rather than better.

 Everyone now agrees the illicit market is growing.

 In the UK, statistics from HM Revenue and Customs, Measuring Tax Gaps – 2013, were published on October 11.

 HMRC statistics estimate that 500million more cigarettes were smuggled into the UK in 2012-13 than in 2011-12, and 300 more tonnes of hand rolling tobacco.

 The potential cost to the Government is estimated at almost £3bn, which is £500million more than last year.

 In Australia, a KPMG study, Illicit Tobacco in Australia published on November 4, has shown that consumption of tobacco has not decreased since plain packaging took effect in December 2012. It also found that Australia’s illegal tobacco market has risen to around 13 per cent since the introduction of plain packaging just under a year ago.

 This was the first time since 2009 that consumption did not decline year over year with more and more smokers turning to the illicit trade and to branded illegal products.

 You can put all the security features you like on legal packs. But, if at the same time we cut criminals’ costs by giving them just one pack design to copy rather than 101, then it’s criminals that win.

 They will plough that money into increasingly sophisticated and successful smuggling operations, especially when we are also cutting border controls.

 Criminals will also continue to profit from successfully targeting young people – the very group that plain packaging is supposed to be protecting.

 Illicit tobacco is growing in the UK and Australia, let’s not make it even easier for smugglers – evidence I hope Sir Cyril Chantler will take into account in his review.

Will O’Reilly,

former Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector

Ridiculous opinion

OBVIOUSLY, Mr J Stott of Blackfell, and his ridiculous opinion that in this day and age it’s fine that women should still be objectified and only merited on the way they look and therefore idealised is somewhat antiquated.

 Get a grip, Mr Stott, it’s the 21st century and, yes, we care about the impoverished whether in this country or aboard

 One gets the impression by your letter that you would like the revolution to come about and that men would be free to enjoy freedom and liberty and the daily dished-up blonde – guess what, you cannot have your cake and eat it.

 It’s freedom for all, and not freedom for you personally.

Lesley Aitch

What a hypocrite

COUNCILLOR Peter Wood’s comments regarding the increase of the Deputy Mayor’s allowance from £3,827 to £5,735, as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel, is both unnecessary and disrespectful to the post.

 This is the first increase in the allowance for over a decade.

 Such comments are unwarranted from a Tory Councillor who receives an additional allowance of £8,369 for being the Deputy Leader of eight Tory councillors, and receives an additional, generous allowance of £5,132 as he is a committee member of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority – a total allowance of £21,870.

 What a hypocrite – reminds me of the very large kettle calling the frying pan black.

Coun Darryl Dixon,

St Chad’s ward, East Herrington

Thanks to Ed

IT is with grateful thanks that I will receive George Osborne’s energy relief gift.

 The real credit needs to go to Ed Miliband, who has dragged the Coalition Government onto an agenda that matters to the hard working people the Tories keep referring to, but know little about.

Leslie Scott,

East Herrington