Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie -
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by !
I have decided not to make any changes to excise on tobacco in this Budget because I believe the high price is now giving rise to massive cigarette smuggling. My responsibility as Minister for Finance is to protect the tax base. I have full confidence in the effectiveness of the current multi agency approach but early in the New Year I want to explore what further measures we may need to stem the illegal flow of cigarettes into this country.
Liver disease is increasing because people are switching from beer to stronger drinks. We already know this though, because this has been true of every major alcoholism epidemic in history. In the gin epidemic of the eighteenth century, beer was part of the solution, not the problem, as the immortal cartoons by Hogarth show. It should be seen as that today.
An online report published by the Home Office in 2006 has estimated the UK drugs market to be worth £4.645bn in 2003/4, with a margin of error of +/- £1.154bn.