The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) has raised a number of concerns about the UK government’s Impact Assessment on plain packaging, and its effect on small businesses.

The RPC gave the government’s Impact Assessment an ‘amber’ rating which means that it is only ‘fit for purpose’ if changes are made in response to the concerns it has raised.

Concerns were raised about the Department of Health’s analysis of costs to businesses transitioning to standardised tobacco products.

It also calls for additional analysis of the impact on small and micro businesses and for further testing on the impact on transaction times in stores.

The government’s Impact Assessment states that plain packaging could reduce transaction times by 1.5 seconds – an estimate that retailers and trade associations strongly disagree with.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the concerns raised by the Regulatory Policy Committee in their opinion, and have shared many of the same concerns in our submissions to government on this issue.

”We do not believe that there is robust evidence to suggest that transaction times will decrease under standardised packaging – in fact we believe it will take longer to serve customers when all packs look essentially the same.

“The full impact of plain packaging on retailers must be taken into account.”