How much did cigarettes go up in the Budget?

SMOKERS were among the hardest hit in the Autumn Budget as it was revealed the price of cigarettes was to rocket.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled huge price hikes on tobacco products which came into effect juts hours after his speech to the House of Commons.

Critics have slammed the decision, saying that individuals are being unfairly targeted in the Government's war on smoking.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said: “Smokers are sick and tired of being targeted every year with above inflation increases in tobacco duty. 

“The majority of smokers come from poorer backgrounds.

"Many have suffered financially as a result of the pandemic and should not have to face yet another increase in the cost of tobacco at a time when they can least afford it.”

He added that increase duty on tobacco products was likely to encourage illicit trade, which would hurt retailers and put consumers at risk.

Here we look at how much tobacco products have gone up after the Budget and why they have risen so much.

How much have cigarettes gone up?

The price of a pack of fags increased by as much as 88p after the Autumn Budget.

Previously the most expensive 20-pack cost around £12.73 but this was hiked by a whopping 6.9% yesterday.

That adds almost 88p to the price of a pack, bringing it just over £13.60.

The cheapest 20-packs had cost around £9.10 prior to the Budget.

A 6.9% increase on this price would add almost 63p to a pack, bringing the cost up to almost £9.73.

Hand-rolling tobacco came in for an even greater price increase.

The most expensive packs were previously around £15.60 in supermarkets.

The 10.9% rise introduced yesterday added as much as £1.70 to the price of a bag, bringing it to a hefty £17.30.

The cheapest bags were previously around £12.47.

These went up to £13.83 after the Budget – an increase of £1.36.

Smokers were hit in the 2020 Budget too, when the average 20-pack went up by around 22p.

Why have cigarettes gone up so much?

Tobacco products go up at a rate of inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus another 2 per cent.

For hand-rolling tobacco the increase is greater at RPI plus 6 per cent.

RPI is different to the standard measure of inflation, which is the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Both measure the change in prices of a basket of goods, however RPI takes into account things like mortgage payments, train ticket prices, air passenger duty and tax on alcohol and cigarettes.

As a result, RPI tends to be higher. Currently it is running at 4.9%.

That means that the price of cigarettes was hiked by 6.9% yesterday, and hand-rolling tobacco by 10.9%.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of campaign group ASH, welcomed the increase.

She said: "Raising tobacco prices through taxation reduces smoking prevalence, increases tax revenues, and reduces costs to public finances.

"But on their own tax increases are not enough to deliver the Government’s Smokefree 2030 ambition, what’s also needed is a fully funded and ambitious strategy, including stricter and more support for smokers to quit."

While smokers came out of the Budget badly, there was good news for some groups of people.

The price of pint is set to come done in a booze bonanza and there was a major boost for Universal Credit claimants.

But millions of people could endure a council tax rise while others will pay hundreds more as National Insurance contributions go up.

This is how the Budget affects you.

 

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