Published 02/05/2014 00:00:00 in Press Releases

The Petrol Retailers Association has joined Priti Patel MP in her campaign to oppose the UK Government’s plans for plain packaging for tobacco products, a policy which is already opposed by over 70 per cent of retailers. Priti Patel has warned that introducing plain packaging will have a range of unintended consequences, such as increasing the illicit tobacco trade, which would hit legitimate retailers hard.

PRA members are answering Priti Patel’s call to contact their MPs and explain how plain packaging will affect their businesses. So far, around fifty MPs have already signed a House of Commons motion opposing plain packaging and a considerable backbench revolt is expected on the issue.

Brian Madderson, Chairman of the PRA, said, “We stand shoulder to shoulder with Priti Patel in her campaign to oppose plain packaging and defend the interests of small retailers. Over 80 per cent of retailers believe that implementing plain packs would go against the Government’s pledge to help small business.

“Small retailers are facing the cost of introducing the point of sale display ban next year, so it is wrong that the government might now adopt plain packaging when there is not a shred of evidence that it would reduce smoking rates.

“We have seen in Australia that small retailers have suffered as a result of standardised packaging, losing business to larger stores and illegal trading stands. Indeed, levels of both legal and illegal tobacco have increased after years of decline. Plain packaging has done nothing to reduce child or adult smoking rates. Based on this evidence, if the UK Government proceeds with plain packaging it would be nothing more than gesture politics.

“We urge other MPs to look at the facts on plain packaging, join with Priti Patel, and consider the negative impact this policy would have on retailers without delivering any reduction in smoking rates.”




·         In a letter published in Asian Trader's 25 April issue, Ms Patel accused ministers of wishing to “steamroll stricter tobacco controls and plain packaging through with no further debate or consideration, under the pretence that this will in some way prevent young people from taking up smoking.”

·         The Petrol Retailers Association represents some 5,300 independent filling stations across the UK which is more than 60% of the total. The trade association is committed to helping its members run their businesses legally and profitably adapting to new challenges in the market place.

·         The PRA member survey was undertaken by Populus and funded by Philip Morris Limited. The results are derived from a telephone survey conducted from 5 – 13 March 2014 among PRA members and involved a total of 400 interviews.  The poll showed:

Ø  73%of retailers said plain packaging would hurt their businesses, up from 65% last year

Ø  90% believe direct tobacco sales are important to their bottom line, up 11-points from last year

Ø  84% of retailers say implementing plain packs would go against the Government’s pledge to help small business

Ø  79% believe it would cause people to turn to the black market, where they can access cheap, branded packs

Ø  Nine in ten people (89%) say it would make counterfeiting easier

·         According to Experian Catalyst data, tough economic times have hit small retailers hard with nearly 1000 independent petrol filling station dealers across the UK having closed since 2009 – nearly 200 a year.

Brian Madderson is available for interview. 

Rupal Rawal, Communications Officer

Tel: 020 7307 3412
Mob: 07528 977 157
Press Office direct line: 020 7307 3422
Press Office fax: 020 7307 3406

Web: Email:

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.

Back to Articles
Back to Articles


This site uses cookies. Some cookies are essential to ensure our website works for you in the best possible way. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site may not work. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to delete cookies, click here to see our cookie statement.