It wasn't that great for Mahendra Oza, who trades in Islington. He went to his local Bestway branch just before the Budget, but found himself limited to 40 outers of tobacco
when he wanted 80. The manager said he was following a government rule. Mahendra wanted to know if this was true.
Well, yes and no. Tobacco manufacturers have an agreement with the government to limit the amount of product they distribute just before the Budget to prevent profiteering. Beyond that, though, it is down to the discretion of the wholesaler.
As Geoff Monk, group marketing director at Bestway, put it: "There is no dictate from central office. I suspect the manager is just trying to be fair to his customers by rationing - he will have reduced stock - and it's always difficult at Budget time. I bet if the retailer goes back there now he'll have no trouble."