Delyn MP David Hanson is warning consumers who buy fake goods on the cheap will end up worse off in the long run and, in some cases, are taking risks with their health.
The intellectual property (IP) crime market in the UK has been estimated as worth around £1.3 billion per year. Criminals are targeting a wide range of products including designer clothing, music and films, luxury and electrical goods, toys, alcohol and cigarettes. The cost to UK taxpayers of counterfeit cigarettes alone was £2.9 billion in 2006.
A new report shows that closer cooperation between law-enforcement agencies and industry groups is beginning to pay off with a rise in the number of successful prosecutions. These have risen from 600 in 2004 when the IP Crime Strategy was launched to over 1,000 a year, according to the most recent figures available.
The report also highlights the need for more work to raise public awareness around negative effects of IP crime such as the damage to the UK’s economic competitiveness and the stifling of innovation.
David Hanson said:
“It may seem like a bargain buying cheap gifts on the run up to Christmas, but that does not mean you are getting a good deal and you will probably end up worse off in the long run.
“Everyone ends up paying for counterfeiting, whether its through lost jobs or profits for businesses, or whether its higher costs passed on to the consumer.
“It can also be very dangerous, and there are considerable health risks with counterfeit cigarettes found to contain far higher levels of tar, illicit alcohol made with poisonous methanol; and fake pharmaceutical goods containing no active ingredient or an incorrect one.
“On top of this, cheap electrical goods – including toys – can be unsafe or incompatible with the domestic electrical supply.
“There has been some good progress in cracking down on this illegal trade and I would urge everyone not to put money into the hands of the criminals which puts the local economy and perhaps their own health in danger.”