Sin taxes do what it says on the tin

The government is quite keen to use small tax rises on particular products to change consumer behaviour. These seem to be very successful in their own terms.

Let’s take the 5p bag tax. 5p is not a large sum of money on the average supermarket shop, though the average supermarket shop would often need more than one bag. Since the introduction of the 5p charge so called single use or thin plastic bags issued by the main super markets has plunged by 83%. Most of us now take longer life bags to the shop so we do not need to pay for more of these thin plastic holdalls. I have no problem with doing this myself.

We need to remember that some of these so called single use bags were used again for other purposes. I used them again for carrying, storing, or dumping waste through the refuse system. Now they have been largely phased out we need to make and use alternatives for dumping waste and for carrying things. There will be some loss of overall bag output, with more opportunities for bag producers to sell tougher longer lasting bags.

There is then the Sugar Tax. The government claims early victories for this recent introduction, as many makers of soft drinks changed their formula prior to the arrival of the tax to get the sugar content below the permitted maximum. As a result the government has now halved its estimate of the likely revenue from the tax. Levied at 24p a litre on high sugar drinks it is quite a price hike on these relatively low value items,but not a huge increase in the cost of a total food shop for those who want carry on drinking high sugar colas and similar.

These two examples show that quite small tax increases on everyday items will change behaviour markedly where the public buys into the need to make changes, or where the sum of money is annoying or difficult on a low budget.
We now see a pattern to what happens with tax rises or new taxes. It should make the government extremely nervous about putting additional taxes on things like work and savings, where it generally says it approves, as these too can be adversely affected by increases in rates or by new impositions. We also see a pattern that revenue often falls short, and there are consequential reductions in related revenues.

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107 Comments

  1. Bob Dixon
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    The tax change to dividends is unfair. I can avoid it on quoted shares by putting them in an Isa. I cannot use an ISA’s on my small company I help to run.

    • Prigger
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      You can get low or even zero dividend stocks which are sometimes called “Growth stocks ” or even “Momentum stocks”. Care is needed how many/much and when to sell. American and Chinese stocks ( not energy or water ) don’t seem to have much of a dividend. The American tax-payer loves company “Buy-backs” of it own shares rather than dividend payouts . I think I know where they’re coming from.

      • Hope
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        JR, how much will the govt get in sugar tax compared to the amount it should claim from the EU for health service you claimed the other day? Why cannot super markets provide biodegradable bags, no need for plastic. At no cost to the consumer but to the big corporates where it belongs because it is packaging as well as bags that are the problem even plastic bottles that Gove is on about. So tax for sugar, tax for bottles, is your Govt capable of any strategy, joined up thinking or moreover governing?

    • Hope
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      No need for any these, the coporates could have changed their bags or burden the cost of failing to comply with an EU directive. Your govt does not even have the fortitude to say it is doing what it is told by the EU. As for rubbish no mention of EU directive on environment which has caused the bins to be emptied every two weeks instead of one. Pickles was going to change this, still waiting. We used to have one tax for a house, a rate bill now we have water bill, sewerage bill, community charge, add ons for flood defense, social adult care, green bins, and communal greena areas! 7 taxes instead of one. Then add Environment Agency from normal taxation at £1.5 billion, then you have eight taxes. Tory taxers lie each time they say it is Low tax party. Utter lies. Osborne was going to make 80 percent cuts and 20 percent tax rises.

      Your party recently claimed another success when its origins was the EU highlighted by Guido. What next cakes, pasties, perhaps May should tell us what we can eat and drink, when we can exercise etc.

      Reply Wokingham still offers weekly collection

      • dennisambler
        Posted April 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        The net effect of the landfill tax is to increase dumping in lay-bys etc. The resulting clear up comes from a separate budget, so doesn’t show up.

        Extending the number of weeks for black bag collection won’t reduce the amount of waste, it will simply be stacked up, with increased health risks and vermin problems, together with, again, more dumping in the countryside.

        Whilst the 5p bag tax has produced the “bag for life” from the supermarkets, for a one off payment of 10p, you no longer have to buy a bag ever again, so no revenue to cover the admin.

        The sugar tax may well have made manufacturers reduce the amount of sugar in their products, but the raison detre was supposed to be that it would reduce child obesity.

        There is no evidence to show that child obesity is the result of consuming sweetened drinks and no such evidence could ever be obtained, because there are too many confounding factors. If there is no reduction in child obesity after say, 2 years, will they remove the tax again? Should there be an extra tax on chocolate, cakes, etc, etc. Should the Great British Bake-off and Master Chef be banned, because they use high quantities of sugar?

        How about a big tax on computer games? Seems to me kids spend too much time looking at a screen.

        In terms of government action to change behaviour, take as an example the Welsh move on organ donation. You are deemed to have given your consent to ambulance chasers to remove your organs after death unless you tell the government otherwise. Bureaucracy has increased, more records are needed, but there has been no change in the organ numbers available for transplant.

        The more government gets involved in the minutiae of our daily lives the more problems they create and the more costs they pile up.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      All these ISAS. LISAS, Save to Buy, Tessa saving products, EIS, SEIS, (and all all the absurd pension complexity) just create thousands of parasitic and pointless jobs and waste people’s time. They are silly gimmicks that damage the economy overall. Just let people save and invest sensibly without all these silly contrived, absurdly complex and endlessly changing tax gimmicks with their moving goal posts.

      They are almost as daft as Gordon Brown’s cynical Baby Bond racket.

      My youngest has a baby bond she will get in about seven years. It might just reach £1000 for a party for her at 18th I suppose! It this really a sensible way use taxpayers money? It was a just Labour’s evil & cynical attempt to buy votes using other’s money, Surely it should be illegal to attempt to buy votes in this way?

      Prudence also sold all our gold for next to nothing and then destroyed private pensions and bust the economy. Well done Gordon “No Return to Boom and Bust” Brown.

      Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP will of course be even worse and even more cynical!

      • Richard1
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        I’ve just discovered LISAs. I put in £4,000 pa for each of my children and the Govt adds another £1,000. I can’t honestly resist it but I would suggest it would be better to cut taxes and concentrate welfare on those who need it.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        It’s important to state the actual facts so they don’t get lost in the cycle of political denial. Gordon Brown, against the express and clear advice of anyone and everyone who knew anything about the gold market or even capital markets, made public an intention to auction much of the UK’s gold reserves. He sold c. 1/2 of them at an average price of US$ 275 per ounce. (Current price $1336). A strategy and a loss for which, had he been a private sector company director or FCA authorised person, he would certainly have been disqualified and most likely sued, and perhaps even prosecuted. What is incredible is that he went on to have another five – catastrophic – years as chancellor after this fiasco, and then 3 years as PM. Even now, although out of the limelight, he is seen as a figure of stature and integrity, instead of as he should be – as a political Fred Goodwin.

        And these were the so called Labour moderates. God help us if we get the Corbyn- McDonell Marxists.

  2. Mark B
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Another area was pensions. When people realised that pensions were going to be raided they looked around for alternatives. This was not necessarily a sin tax but it had the same effect our kind host mentions.

    It is also important to mention where some of these, especially the plastic bag tax, came from. They came from EU directives. So we can see that the EU is deliberately now responsible for taxing us and not our government.

    https://euobserver.com/environment/140494

    What I want to see is more honesty from government. Just tell us that we are doing this because it is an EU Directive.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/zero-calories-industry-moving-to-reduce-sugar-in-eu-beverages/

    From a supposedly Eurosceptic I am surprised he does not highlight this more often.

    • Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Nice one Mark – I’d missed that EU directive, and there was me blaming clegg – He can stop taking credit for it now…

  3. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    The working poor who are forced to move from tax credits to the new universal credit system have just had a huge “tax” increase. Many are going to loose half their income, which is bad for the economy and for their families. Additionally, changes to the free school meals system are going to mean thousands of poor children will have to forgo a hot meal once a day.

    I’m all for hitting the benefit scroungers and economic migrants claiming tax credits for their children back home somewhere in the EU, but why can’t this administration help the British working poor? This is going to cost the party a lot of votes and in a close-run election, it might just give Corbyn the win

    • acorn
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Your mention of “universal credit” reminds me that I can’t remember anyone on this site commenting on PAYE-RTI which is directly linked to it. Elsewhere micro-businesses find it a weekly pain in the whatsit.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 9, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Why should RTI be a pain for anyone? RTI = Real Time Information. The self-employed knows there outgoings and incomings. Small businesses have had to do this for as long as I’ve been in business. Many members of my family are self-employed, they have no problem with this at all.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 9, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        acorn

        “Elsewhere micro-businesses find it a weekly pain in the whatsis.”

        You have no idea what you’re talking about

        • acorn
          Posted April 11, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          I am talking about a Hairdresser, where all the staff are part time, weekly paid and don’t pay any income tax.

    • jerry
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      @Sakara Gold; “I’m all for hitting [..//..] economic migrants claiming tax credits for their children back home somewhere in the EU”

      Fine, they’ll simply bring the wife and children with them, costing the UK tax payer even more due to needing to fund extra education & health services etc!…

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      They could be helped by a significant rise in the starting level for NI contributions to at least the level where income tax starts. Any loss in revenue could be retrieved by small changes further up the income levels

    • Hope
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      IDS,claimed in his article yesterday that immigrants cost the country 2013/14 £3 billion in benefits. May has extended the freedom of movement and has conceded even more benefits to children of EU citizens who have not yet been born and I who do not and will not live here! Meanwhile taxes all of us for adult social care when Rudd invites all EU families to come here irrespective of age! Anyone voting taxing Tory needs their head examined.

      • Hope
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        JR highlighted a couple of days ago how we pay for the world in health care and claim little in return from the EU! He now wants to talk about taxing us more on trivia. It is about taxing us any way they can irrespective of what issue can be used so May can piss it down the drain on other nations. Overseas aid new record at £14 billion! European Development Fund at £3.75 billion but not on our books! Is this the KitKat policy civil servants were talking about? Why are they still in post and not sacked? I cannot afford May or the Tories to stay in office. They have now taxed more than the last Labour Govt.

  4. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    I don’t mind a sugar tax. I am a sweet tooth and often crave for something sweet,however we should all consider more natural sugars such as fructose.

    I like carbonated stuff , so consume fizzy waters , but am trying to drink more tap water with ice and lemon. The plastic bottles surely are OK with present arrangements into the bottle waste bin. I cannot see an incentive for children to take plastic bottles to a collection point for a penny.

    I keep my shopping bags in the car , but sometimes forget to take them into the store and curse myself for having to buy another plastic bag.

    I now don’t do a weekly shop as food stores are en route to work and there are other services available such as breakfast if I forget to put an orange and toast into my bag.The arrangements for the worker out of cities is much improved to how was it was in the past, however many abuse these conveniences by throwing rubbish onto the pavements and back streets where they think it cannot be seen . I deplore this slovenly behaviour. It attracts rats and other vermin . Local councils should correct this lazy attitude to rubbish.

    • jerry
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      @MB-J; “The plastic bottles surely are OK with present arrangements into the bottle waste bin.”

      Indeed but even those are not needed by most, I suspect that the ‘refundable surcharge’ on pre-sorted plastic bottles and cans [1] is more to do with LA’s and their agents saving money processing recycling bins.

      As for litter, once again much of this is due to tax cuts causing cuts to services, in this case many roadside & pavement waste bins have been removed to save the cost of maintenance and emptying.

      [1] will we, eventually, have to return our empty baked bean jars/cans to?

      • Hope
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, has understandable point. However, do not forget the LAs are not mentioning that in lieu of the cuts to grants they get NHB and CIL to make them build houses. They bleat about cuts to grants but always forget the Tory Govt. Replaced with fundingvstreams to force them to build. Hence why it was colloquially called the Boles bung in 2010. Look at your LAs accounts for NHB and CIL, particularly where new ghettos were/ are built then look to see how much of the money is spent on infrastructure and services instead of hiking pay, pensions and vanity schemes. My LAs are a disgrace, no need for two their authorities unitary saves money. Instead of six LAs one will suffice. Javid clueless and useless, he is following May’s direction of tax and piss down the drain. Has Javid corrected the false claims made by LAs about cuts? No.

        • jerry
          Posted April 9, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          @hope; Nice rant, what ever it’s point!….. 🙁

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I do not think the evidence suggests that “more natural sugars” are really any better than unnatural ones. It is more a question of quantity. Nearly all the carbs turn to sugar too, natural or otherwise.

      Perhaps better to eat the whole orange (rather than some over sweet commercial orange juice though)! Far nicer too.

      • Miss Brandreth-Jones
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        all carbs covert to glucose, however refined sugar as in cakes and toffees is not quite as healthy as the fructose in oranges.

        • Miss Brandreth-Jones
          Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          I would prefer my Diabetic patients, particularly Type 2 DM to have an apple or an orange ( perhaps not mangoes , melon or grapes so often ) rather than a bag of sweets . The refined sugars tend to cause much damage along with the esters .triglycerides and low density lipo proteins , which in turn leads to obesity and insulin resistance. Sugars come in many forms, however when we are discussing food stuffs a bit of scientific common sense is required.
          N.B. Not covert although there are some covert cake eaters, bout convert.

          • Know-Dice
            Posted April 9, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

            Is this the simple & complex carbohydrate issue? – I can never remember which is good and which is bad 🙁

    • forthurst
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Fructose is no more ‘natural’ than sucrose. Sucrose is a compound of glucose and fructose and widely distributed in plants. In the USA, home of the brave, free and morbidly obese, manufacturers are encouraged by the taxation system to sweeten their artificial food and drink with high fructose corn syrup.

      I once read a journo claiming that he only consumed cane sugar not beet sugar because bees turned their proboscides up at the latter; presumably he was unaware that bees feed on nectar so have not evolved the capacity to detect sugars which are not part of their normal diet.

      Biologists teach that the purpose of amylase is to commence the digestion of starch in the mouth; however, I would propose that its purpose is actually to enable animals to detect carbohydrate in plants by disclosing a sweet taste. People will eat bread which has been loaded with unrefined flour and bran because it is labelled ‘bread’. I very much doubt they would eat it going purely by its flavour which is that of cardboard.

      • getahead
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        If beetroot don’t produce flowers and nectar how do they reproduce?

        • forthurst
          Posted April 9, 2018 at 12:05 am | Permalink

          wind pollination.

  5. Iain Moore
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    The claim that super market bags were single use bags was a lie. My ‘single’ use supermarket bags were recycled into rubbish bags. Now I have to buy rolls of plastic rubbish bags, which are made of heavier duty plastic. So this great success was in fact a big fail.

  6. Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    #
    That was a very good example of the topic in Harold Wilson’s cosy TV speech, from around 1964, when he spoke about the carrot and the stick approach to making us unruly citizens behave….
    You forgot to mention the carrot though…

    • Thenist
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      There is sugar in carrots.

      • Hope
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        May will limit the amount of carbs next as they turn to sugar! What next fish and chips! Idiot.

        She is an utter disaster, interfering in all things that are not a matter for govt.

  7. Eater
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The government should mind its own business. We wish to hear less from government not more. We wish to see smaller government not larger.
    Sugar is very sweet and is wonderful. Yum yum. Get the hell out of my stomach!

    • jerry
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      @Eater; “The government should mind its own business. We wish to hear less from government not more.”

      Asbestos is also an excellent insulator, how about someone insulated your house with it, in fact why not line your walls and ceilings with it, as some builders did in the 1920s and 30s – still want less govt interference on health issues?!…

      • libertarian
        Posted April 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        Er, one of my buildings is indeed lined with asbestos. Theres absolutely no problem with it at all. Our asbestos survey and reports say its totally safe as long as we dont try to remove it.

        However sugar is a perfectly safe substance under all circumstances so its a complete fallacy to try to draw an analogy between the two things.

        • jerry
          Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          libertarian; “[asbestos is] totally safe as long as we dont try to remove it…”

          …or drill it, or sand it, disturb it (or just its dust) or damage it etc.

          Yes, precautions can be taken to remove or minimise risk but that needs to be pro-active not reactive, incidental and accidental exposure is the biggest problem now, especially in the case of unknown-unknown contamination.

          Oh and had there not been govt health regulations put in place, which was my point, you and others would be happily doing all the things you should not, probably totally unaware of the dangers

          “However sugar is a perfectly safe substance under all circumstances”

          Tell that to a border line or previously undiagnosed diabetic!

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Fine but make people pay for the NHS (and cut taxes) so they can make their own health choices and pay for any medical consequences themselves.

    • Andy
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      * You want to see small government until you need to see a doctor, or a teacher, or you need a policeman or to take a train or what your pension. At that point you demand top quality services.

      • NickC
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Andy, None of those, except perhaps the policeman, needs to be provided by the state.

        • Andy
          Posted April 8, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes – because privatised rail has worked out well. And private healthcare is great for some things. (Let’s just hope you don’t get cancer because then you’re on your own). And private education is great – if you have a spare £15,000k a year just for the fees. Which every average person on an average £26,000k a year salary does.

          I agree the state does not have to provide pensions. You all had your entire lives to save. If you didn’t, hard luck. Time for pensioners to face the same choices about whether to pay for food or the rent that most others face.

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

            Well… we were paying national insurance. And into private pension schemes which were raided (hence our obsession with housing.)

          • Edward2
            Posted April 9, 2018 at 6:02 am | Permalink

            Andy
            To claim “most others” face choices “whether to pay for food or the rent ” is quite ridiculous.

          • NickC
            Posted April 9, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            Andy, I wasn’t talking about the current situation. I was comparing (full) state provision with (full) public provision (with state laws governing the provision – ie “standards”) – which you would sneer as “private”**.

            There is no reason, other than proto-marxist, why the state should run any service apart from making and keeping the law. It is perfectly possible for state law to insist on fairness, equality and a level playing field without actually operating the service.

            **Public schools are so called because when originated they were (and still are) open to the public.

        • Hope
          Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Nick. C. The govt has tried to turn policing private, i.e. SIA, Highways Agency and private security patrols. Reduced number in actual terms 20,000 and by top slicing budget to provide Highway Agency and PCSO on the cheap. Take these into account and further civilianisition the number of police cuts are far worse than the 20,000 the papers talk about. I would suspect about 40,000 cut in numbers nearer the true number? Civil service will try to claim these other bodies reduce demand on police, utter rot. Public quite rightly expect a PC to turn up at their time of need.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 9, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Andy

        Oh dear

        GP’s are private contractors, the rail network was built and operated successfully by the private sector until nationalised, my kids were taught by private teachers and pensions are provided privately too.

        Policing which is provided by the state is now at the worst level its every been. Totally infected with political correctness and only interested in thought crimes. Meanwhile our through the roof taxes fail to provide quality service in ANY of the core things that society wants a government to provide

        No wonder you believe everything the EU tells you, you are totally ignorant of how the world works

        Oh and by the way

        Disney shells out £1.3bn to make Marvel films in the UK

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/08/disney-shells-13bn-make-marvel-films-uk/

  8. Peter
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    ‘Where the public buys into the need to make changes’ is an important precondition for success. Plastic bag usage is possibly one notable example.

    Cost will also change behaviour without widespread public approval. Maybe sugar tax is an example here.

    There is a role for self control rather than state intervention of course.

    Expensive tobacco products will fuel demand for cheaper smuggled cigarettes. The same may happen if we go down the same road with alcohol.

    Then there are longstanding taxes and bans that people may have cause to question over time. The rise in violent crime in London makes me wonder whether the American right to bear arms is the huge error that most outside that country routinely claim.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    “single use or thin plastic bags issued by the main super markets has plunged by 83%” but the multi use bags weigh about 5 times the thin ones. So is there really any saving in plastic? Only if they are used more than 5 times it seems? Though I do prefer the better bags.

    The sugar tax is clearly idiotic and damaging. It will probably cost industry many times what it actually raises in tax. When you eat pasta, bread, potatoes, rice and the likes they all turn into sugar in the body very rapidly will we have a tax on these too (not even VAT on most of these). What about sickly sweet smoothies, yogurts, cakes, biscuits and just plane bags of sugar?

    Then we have the regulation “taxes” these raise nothing at all but cost everyone loads of time and money. Things like Mays gender par reporting. It seem Sajid Javid has some new doubtless idiotic plans to ban Gazumping! The only two sensible things Cameron’s government did (apart from eventually giving us the referendum) was to make (only residential for some reason) squatting illegal and kill the moronic HIP packs. Though we still have the nonsense energy performance certificates. Can we kill this daft Javid proposal now please.

    Let the government concentrate on sorting out the NHS (by charging and encouraging self provision), getting some “real deterrent” policing in place, cutting taxes hugely, stopping the endless government waste, going for cheap reliable energy and getting a clean Brexit please?

    • getahead
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Ll the problem with plastic bags was not shortage of plastic but contamination resulting from too many plastic bags. There are still enormous problems with plastic cups, straws etc that fish are ingesting.
      There is a supermarket, can’t remember which one which has gone all paper and cardboard. That has to be a good move.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Think its waitrose

  10. bigneil
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Govt people will make sure they are never short of money. The working, and increasingly more, the middle, class people in this country are being taxed and taxed, while getting less and less back from what is took from them. The “Panama Papers” only came up with one name, very strangely and we all know who that was. You are not going to stop increasing taxes. Billions are thrown away every year by govt to foreign “good causes” that only result in their leaders getting richer. HS2 started off at one figure and has now spiralled out of control. Doesn’t matter, it will come from the poorer section of our society. Every other big project that any govt does, goes the same way. Meanwhile our council services get cut and cut, the Police get smaller and smaller, and the bill for the never ending flood of “migrants and refugees” goes higher everyday.
    When is someone going to stand up and come out with that govt comment of ” Lessons have been learned ” – – and nothing changes. Keep taxing, keep wasting it – -it can only end one way. Both parties are as bad as each other – just different names.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      The Tories are not quite as bad as Labour. Not even under the dopey, interventionist, robotic, broken compass, socialist T May and highest taxes for 40 years P Hammond.

      At least the Tories do have about 100 sensible MPs on the JR wing.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The great BBC “thinker” Polly Toynbee said this morning (of stop and search) that 92% of people who were searched had no weapon. So what? If you have an 8% hit rate that is surely quite a good hit rate and provides a real deterrent?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      What Ms Toynbee and others who say stop and search only finds small amounts of drugs rather than weapons fail to allow for is that if a potential knife carrier thinks they will be stopped they are less likely to carry a weapon.

      Thus there is a deterrent effect (prevention rather than cure which the left are usually especially keen on).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      It is mainly the young people from these same communities who are the victims after all.

    • Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Very well said, LL. These people don’t live in the real world! Any measure that results even in one potential murderer being stopped is a good measure. And so what if it inconveniences some people? Tough.

    • anon
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      You would hope the hit rate was low, it should be close to zero.

      How about a machine algorithm used to decide who to check. You only need to decide on the algorithm and the rules.

      Objective: To reduce the carrying of offensive weapons.

      Each “hit” or “non-hit” should lead to refinement in the dynamic protocol .

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. She’s basically saying that catching the 8% who go out intending violence isn’t worth the effort of searching the other 92%. I wonder whether that applies to her attitude to catching tax cheats, who are still criminal but without the violent intent.

    • Andy
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Spoken like someone who has never been stopped and searched.

      • NickC
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Of course stop and search is perfectly sensible. As a youth driving a banger, I was frequently stopped by the police: it was more likely that my car was illegal than the nearly new Cortina driven by a middle aged man.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Andy.

        We’ve stopped stop-and-search

        The knife crime rate is through the roof.

        Have it your way.

        (Wrong as usual)

  12. oldtimer
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    The other aspect of these taxes that is worthy of note is regulatory capture and/or influence by lobby groups that were the cause, wholly or in part, of these tax changes. This might be worth a post in its own right.

    The EU’s torrent of regulations has been influenced in this way. Sometimes it is by business pressure groups, at others by green lobby groups to quote two examples. Big business seeks to limit or strangle new competitors by costly regulatory hurdles. Green lobby were and remain behind climate change legislation which has damaged our energy security and has significantly raised energy prices. The Commission itself has paid lobbyists to push causes in its efforts to change public opinion in the direction it wants. Are they doing this now over Brexit?

    I have no doubt that the tax changes you refer to, both yesterday and today, have their genesis in sophisticated lobbying by some group or other. Lobbying is rife, seen and heard daily in the media, especially the BBC; climate change, the feminist agenda, veganism and Brexit are but four obvious examples. We need more declarations of interest.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Quite, empty vessels being the ones that make most noise.

    • DaveK
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      A very interesting blog on these sorts of topics is “velvetgloveironfist”. Worthy of note is that the head of the team that provided this one biased report has been quoted “God told me to push for it”. Our politicians cannot do their own basic research. The Mexico example appears to be a failure as obesity has not fallen and the consumption of sweet drinks has increased. We need to follow the example of Mr Pruitt in the USA who has now stated that any science that promotes any new regulation needs to be thoroughly investigated from all sides (not just the activists) as there are apparently over 40 scientific studies that contradict the “vested interest” one. As an aside virtue signally should be banned 😉

    • NickC
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Oldtimer, The government’s “Carbon” tax of £23 per tonne of (actually) carbon dioxide has had the pernicious side effect of exporting jobs to Europe and the rest of the world. We haven’t suddenly stopped using aluminium but we have closed our two big smelters in the last decade (Lynemouth 2012, Anglesey 2009).

      Conservative governments, partly under duress from the EU, and both succumbing to the great CAGW hoax, have deliberately impoverished this country without even reducing global carbon dioxide emissions (their avowed aim).

      Taxes to “nudge” us to do the right thing pre-supposes that the government knows what the right thing is. The overwhelming evidence is that even when our governments hit on the right policy (usually by luck rather than erudition) their implementation is so perverse that £billions of our work and taxes are just thrown away. I thought the Tories understood “unintended consequences”?

  13. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Dear John–I find it dead easy each day to pick up an empty cardboard box or tray perhaps from the yogurt counter and put my purchases in that as I go round. Anything but ghastly plastic. Admittedly not so easy for a family-sized shop without help from the shop but that’s what they routinely do in America where supermarkets are geared up to stack empty cardboard boxes at the till and kids are employed to run these out to the car.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Plastic bags are great, light strong and flexible. They can be kept in a pocket ’till needed. They can easily be reused and then recycled by being burnt for energy.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Dear L. Jones–Absolutely not–The next day going in I routinely throw the empty box in to the Cardboard recycling whatsit in the supermarket carpark.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–Personally I feel a bit of a twerp carrying a plastic bag

    • sm
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      It certainly used to be possible to get large cardboard boxes within the major supermarkets for one’s shopping, then the practice was stopped (circa mid ’80s?) for no given reason.

    • Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      But do you use them for your household rubbish when you get home? If not, do you now purchase plastic bin liners for that? As has been said, more bin liners are now being sold. It feels like yet another con. (Though perhaps charities have benefited, which, if so, is good.)

      • David Price
        Posted April 9, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Wokingham won’t collect rubbish unless they are in the approved blue plastic bin bags.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Postscript–The only caveat is that, as I once found, it is easy when fumbling to find one’s key, to perch the box on the car roof and, of course, drive off leaving it there scattering groceries all over the car park

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes we’re far more wasteful bureaucratic and disorganized.

  14. duncan
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    This PM will hammer the ‘private sector’ (self-financing and non-state) with taxes and more regulations simply because she can use the law against it and there’s nothing the private sector can do to fight back against it.

    Her pandering to the feminist propaganda driven narrative of the gender pay-gap should tell anyone all they need to know about the type of politician is leading this once great party.

    She refuses to implement reform in the public sector because the public sector vested interest can hold her to ransom using all forms of industrial action and media propaganda campaigns through the BBC and other leftist media outlets

    She’s concerned only with politics and perception. Thatcher had a moral vision. This PM’s concerned with anything other than that.

    Taxes? The more revenues the state sequestrates from us the more powerful it becomes and the weaker we become

    The fundamental of a Tory PM should be the de-politicisation of the UK, its people and the state’s relationship with the private person

    Message to May – ‘We are not political capital to be harvested. Leave that vile type of politics to Marxist Labour. Stop trying to politicise us’

    We want truth, morality and personal responsibility not politics, more politics and even more politics. The left have used politics to replace morality, truth and humanity. It is immoral for a Tory PM to do the same

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Sadly there’s not much between the parties at the moment – they’re all socialists. When we put an X against Conservative at the last General election, we thought we were going to get a Conservative Government. We were conned.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes the young American lady Miss Andrews has a far more sensible message than our beloved Mrs May. Why does she need to tie herself in unnecessary knots about this.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted April 9, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      ‘Her pandering to the feminist propa … ding this once great party.’

      – The scholarly evidence is that the pay-gender-gap claim is 95% a myth. So either Mrs May is thick (more thick than me at least) or being cynical on this issue (it’s not just that she’s pandering to the far left but this policy is harmful to both men and women).

      (It’s bad enough that socialists are thick enough / brainwashed enough to fall for the pay-gender-gap claim but for the leader of the Conservative Party and PM – shameful).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted April 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        The pay gap is true, but the argument radical feminists make is 95% false i meant (the pay gap is due to many reasons – misogyny is just a small one – the scientific research / studies is all there).

        I just don’t understand how Mrs May could fall for this radical feminist trap?

  15. Alison
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Good morning! I agree. I think these ‘sin’ taxes are also much more effective if people understand the damage caused by the things the sin taxes are seeking to discourage. In the last six months, following eg David Attenborough’s Blue Planet (BBC ….), I see massive push-back against plastic, especially plastic bags.

    Until now in the UK most of those plastic bags are not biodegradable. Their replacements, and what we use for dealing with rubbish, need to be biodegradable and innocuous, as well as tough.

    I’ll never forget the choking of rivers by shops’ plastic bags in the far east, almost a decade ago. i believe it is a still a massive, massive problem, causing massive cost for municipalities and governments. In Dubai, Abu Dhabi, there used to be zillions of them, floating in the hot air and making their way out of the cities. Camels then ate them, mistaking them for food. The plastic in their guts could not go through the system, the camels thought they were full, so did not eat, and then died a slow and painful death. Then a schoolgirl started an awareness campaign, and there was a big improvement.

    Re sugar – Repeat and confirmed studies around the world (eg Israel, US, Australia, UK) have shown that several of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners cause type-two diabetes more quickly than sugar – the sweeteners mess around with our gut bacteria and increase the level of blood sugars, by a lot (the first research I remember was 2014 by the Weizman Inst in Israel). If Granny doesn’t recognize it, don’t eat it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      I tend to avoid nearly all sugar and sweeteners myself (and indeed salt) as much as I can.

      After a while you do not even notice, other than finding most commercial products (even many savory ones) rather sickly – so I avoid them.

      Prof Roy Taylor’s excellent work (Newcastle) seem to give the best answers to Diabetes II. Just loose 15% of you body weight for most people just eat much less until you have!

    • Stred
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      The thin plastic bags were degradable. If I used them for storage, they fell apart. Our house is filling up with the new thick bags, which my bird buys every time she forgets to take them to the shop, and she rarely goes past a shop. Now I use them for garden and building waste and they go to landfill, safely non degradable. ZIn Asia they would likely finish up in the sea.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 9, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Alison – Re sugar – Repeat and confirmed studies around the world (eg Israel, US, Australia, UK) have shown that several of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners cause type-two diabetes more quickly than sugar – the sweeteners mess around with our gut bacteria and increase the level of blood sugars, by a lot (the first research I remember was 2014 by the Weizman Inst in Israel). If Granny doesn’t recognize it, don’t eat it.

      John is this correct? An investigation must be done quickly in the UK, because if it is this sugar tax is going to cause a lot more problems. We need to know what the correct daily allowance of sweetner drinks is safe and if they do cause diabetes, so many men I know drink PepsiMax and other sugar free drinks thinking they’re being healthy and I don’t think the medical professionals are telling diabetics that these sugar free drinks are part of the problem.

  16. Adam
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    A sensible Govt encourages good & discourages bad. Taxing excessive bags & sugar fits. Taxing work, solely because it produces a large resource is adverse. Although consumption is the generator of work, it is excessive consumption where tax belongs.

    Try governing without taxing work. Use Consumption Tax.

    What happens?

  17. Epikouros
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction a well known scientific fact. Newton’s third law. If the opposite reaction is compensated by having a greater benefit from the action then the action is deemed a success. Strangely this law of physics appears to apply also to the actions that we all take in our lives. Unfortunately although in physics when calculating what the opposing force effect on an action will be is difficult it can be done with precise mathematical calculation most of the time. This is not true of actions we take in our lives as there is not a mathematical means of calculating the consequences. It is also more complex as there are more factors which need to be considered and those doing the calculating tend not to have the same high quality of training, knowledge, discipline and attention to detail the scientists/engineer processes. So the calculating of consequences is not done with precision most of the time.

    When an individual miscalculates/acts unwisely for their own benefit then generally few are affected. That is not so when a body of people miscalculate/acts unwisely on behalf of others like politicians do as the effects are felt by many. This is one of the many flaws of government it acts on our behalf taking actions that far too often have consequences as bad or even worse than that which was intended by the action. They change what they perceive to be bad behaviour only to discover that the reaction has very more adverse effects. Price controls, high tax and spend, allocating resources and their use, minimum wage, joining and supporting the EU just to name a few from a very long list of things that government concerns itself with all fall under things that they plunge into resulting in very negative consequences.

  18. Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Far too many things that the government does have unexpected consequences.
    I just wonder whether there will be any health problems with chemical sweeteners that will come to light with their greater use. Some of them leave me with an after taste and I won’t touch them. Will the NHS have a problem with some new illness in maybe ten years when we’ve all been consuming sweeteners instead of sugar? I wouldn’t be in the slightest bit surprised!

    • Alison
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Dear English Pensioner, you are right, but some negative effects have already been shown; please see my comment at 9:06 am above re chemical sweeteners, several of which have been shown, in independent and repeat studies, to cause type-two diabetes quicker than ordinary sugars. I believe it is important that this is more widely known – one hears radio presenters blithely suggesting artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. I agree with Lifelogic re the work of Prof Taylor in Newcastle (as long as you are not underweight, of course). Just a small % reduction in type-two diabetes will result in so many savings in the NHS, in care .. While sin taxes help, I think it is our responsibility to help ourselves to stay as well as possible. But that is not so easy for people on lower incomes.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Alison, not so easy on a low income? Of course it is with a little bit of application. Vegetables are cheap and cooking meals from scratch can be cheap. I tend to bulk up meals with more veg than meat. Healthy and makes it go further. On average I can cook a good healthy meal for two for around £4. People can’t be bothered alot of the time to help themselves.

        • Alison
          Posted April 9, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          Fedupsoutherner, yes, it is easy with application to eat more healthily. We eat many vegetarian meals – though many of these take longer to cook. When commenting, I mulled about writing more about the difficulties perceived by those on lower incomes and with severe time pressures – but decided not to, not to burden our host with more prose on a Sunday night.
          Actually I think those difficulties – time, perceived expense – are relevant factors in sin taxes such as the sugar tax. I think there should be a sin tax on the plastic containers used for ready meals (though these are very useful for elderly people).

          PS Dear Fedupsoutherner, if you see this: I’m also north of the border (one of the natives), and living in a tiddly village pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We had awful broadband (and mobile coverage). By getting together, collectively and individually in as large numbers as we could, we harangued (nicely) everybody we could, and we didn’t let up. Now we have Suuuperfast broadband. Took a few years but it happened.

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted April 9, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

            Well done Alison. Hats off to you. I wish our villagers would come together but sadly many just are not interested. Many are old and internet is not important to them. Yes agree time is of the essence on the cooking front but many cannot be bothered.

    • R.T.G.
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      @ English Pensioner
      “I just wonder whether there will be any health problems with chemical sweeteners that will come to light with their greater use.”
      @ Alison
      “please see my comment at 9:06 am above re chemical sweeteners, several of which have been shown, in independent and repeat studies, to cause type-two diabetes quicker than ordinary sugars.”

      The medical profession probably has quite a good overall understanding of the effects of too much carbohydrate in the form of sugar, but there seems to be some more work to do to understand the short and long term effects of sweeteners, some in particular. For example, our daughter was about three years old when, on rare occasions, she would have Jekyll and Hyde episodes, where she would instantly flip from being a perfectly normal child into a ‘vile creature’ for about 20 minutes and then revert to being normal again. She was clearly aware that something had changed within her and had told us her head went “buzzy”. These episodes were nothing like those of the usual ‘terrible twos’, which she grew out of in the normal course.
      At the same age, she’d started to experience the dubious delights of fizzy drinks, mostly at the occasional kids’ party.
      We suspected something she was eating or drinking was causing the effect, and it was only when we discovered that the same thing happened again immediately after she had been given some proprietary medicine containing a well known artificial sweetener that we twigged the connection. From then on, we tried to ensure she didn’t consume anything with this sweetener, and from then on, the Jekyll and Hyde episodes never reoccurred except by accidental ingestion.

  19. Rank Tax
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    You have sin taxes on alcohol, tobacco, tampons, coffee, tea, chocolate, petrol, diesel, nematodes, dividends, TV,daring to buy shares (stamp duty ), Now a foodstuff proper, SUGAR.This leads the way to declaring fried fish is a sin, red meat a sin, pork ( whoops) a sin.
    Stop taxing us to death with the pretense of saving our souls . Governments have tried this on right back to the time of the Pharoahs

  20. behindthefrogs
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    This blog presents a very strong argument for minimum alcohol pricing. This in turn should help reduce the obesity problem.

    • Prigger
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Fatness is caused by eating too much. Full stop.
      Exceptions are in an extremely tiny number. Fat very poor people..no not here in this land of plenty..abroad, are extremely rare indeed.

  21. John Finn
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’m sceptical about the benefits of the sugar tax on soft drinks. Mexico is often cited as an example where a sugar tax has worked but the figures suggest it clearly hasn’t. Even if we accept the claimed 7% fall in soft drink consumption this is like emptying a swimming pool with a teaspoon compared to the battle against obesity.

    Mexicans, on average, were drinking about 1/2 a litre of soft drinks per day. The calorie content of a Mexican coke is 211 calories. A 7% reduction equates to 15 calories. The slice of wholemeal toast I’ve just eaten contains over 100 calories – about 7 times the reduction from the CLAIMED fall in soft drink sales.

    However, this fall is a fiction which is based on a nonsensical projection of soft drink sales.
    There hasn’t been a fall. Between 2007 ad 2013, Mexicans consumed an average 160 litres per year. In 2014 (the year the sugar tax was introduced) they consumed 162 litres. In 2015 consumption was 161 litres per head.

    The Mexican sugar tax is a tax on poor Mexicans who have limited access to clean, fresh water.

  22. Richard1
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of taxes a remarkable thing is the sense of righteous entitlement of those who live off them, as opposed to having to persuade a customer to part with his or her money. An example is to be found on the front page of today’s Sunday times where the BBC presenter Sarah monatagu is puffed up with outrage that she is paid £133k vs > £600k for John Humphries and > £200k for Nick Robinson. Does it not occur to Ms Montagu that Humphreys and Robinson might be paid more than her not because they are men but because they are more experienced and better at their jobs? Humphries is a much better interviewer than Montagu, and Robinson at least is exceptionally knowledgable about the political scene as can be seen from his books and audio tapes. (It should be remembered that high profile BBC types such as Mr Robinson and or course the left-leaning Andre Marr can make a fortune out of books, speaking engagements etc so don’t have to survive only on the few £100ks they get from us poor license fee tax payers).

    Amazing also – as in the case of the other lady who used to be China editor – is that these presenters can make public and high profile criticism of their employer and yet waft into another highly attractive and highly paid job with the same employer, a situation which would be unthinkable in the private sector! They are indeed in a parallel world.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I should have referred to the righteous entitlement of some, not all, of those who live off taxes. The large majority of public servants do not deserve to be tarred thus, apologies to them!

  23. JoolsB
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    John, can you tell me which of these sin taxes apply to England only? May’s proposal to add another 22p onto every bottle and can we buy is England only but no doubt she will rely on Scots, Welsh & NI MPs to make sure they all go through even though many won’t apply to those they ‘represent’ The same if she gets her way with increasing income tax to fund the NHS in England, not that you’ll her the E word coming out of her mouth.
    You should be ashamed of yourselves!!

  24. Michael
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    It is not the job of government to manage people’s lives. We should be left free to decide for ourselves.

    But the government must have an eye to better education.

  25. Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a new tax for you JR – we get a lot of ready made meals these days – What about an honesty tax on how completely and honestly the contents of the food are shown, and all hidden ingredients – but more importantly, how healthy they are.
    Too many processed foods use the cheapest possible ingredients and are not healthy – You find that things like wheat is added considtantly, which makes life hard for those who are intolerant – we need a health/honesty tax on all foods. Those that are best for us will obviously be cheaper, with no tax, and bought more often….

  26. anon
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    A crackdown on littering, would be good. I know some people have to smoke outside but do they have to litter?

    Please sin tax fine away or make the manufacturer importer responsible.

    Also noise taxes on private helicopters, planes, motorbikes etc.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Except the ‘sin’ tax ALWAYS hits the innocent too.

    I’m extremely fit.

    I put all my litter in recycling.

    Oh to have a return to government that punishes people for dropping litter and brings back personal responsibility for greed.

  28. Ron Olden
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Single use carrier bags were sometimes used for other purposes but not very much. Most of them got thrown in bins or thrown in the street.

    I used to use one or two as pedal bin liners, but most of mine went in the bin. And I hardly ever used them more than once.

    I shop every day, and used to take at least two. People who buy one or two items for lunch also used to take them, not least because they were always piled up at checkouts.

    There was no incentive for shops to cut their use. In fact quite the opposite. They were very cheap to make and they has the shops advertising printed on them.

    Since the charge was introduced I have not used a single bag apart from the reusable one, which gets replaced by the shop free when it wears out.

    You hardly ever see these bags blowing around in the street any more.

    Data which was published last week has shown that since 2010 there has also been marked drop in the number of plastic bags detected in the seas around the British Isles, whilst the volume of all other plastic present has increased.

    The improvement at the moment will be mostly due to the fall in plastic bag use in Ireland, Wales and Scotland, who had the charges long before England, and who also have a disprortionate share of amount of coast. But the effect from England will be apparent in due course.
    The shortfall in Revenue in the Sugar Tax is an indication of the unexpected degree of its’ success. The purpose of this tax was to reduce sugar consumption, not to raise revenue. It’s success is measured by how little, not how much, it raises.

    To date it has significantly reduced the amount of sugar in 50% of soft drinks, and where it hasn’t, the bottles are now slightly smaller. It all adds up. Its’ greatest triumph will be if it ever stops raises any money at all.

    I was always fond of Lucozade, which my mother used to give me long before it was widely sold as soft drink, because she thought it was ‘health drink’. But eventually I had to stop drinking it altogether because it had so many sugar calories in it.

    The manufacturer told me that it would be impossible to make a lower sugar version, and even if they did, no one would buy it. I was astonished to read last week that owing to the Sugar Tax it now has 35% fewer calories, so I bought a bottle and it tastes exactly the same as it used to.

    I wonder how much lighter in weight I’d be now if it had always been thus.

    They could introduce similar taxes as this on a number of carefully selected items. Manufacturers are VERY sensitive when it comes to input prices. And this sort of tax is charged on the manufacturer.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted April 9, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Except sin taxes punish everyone and not just those who over eat or who drop litter.

  30. Ian Pennell
    Posted April 9, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr redwood,

    It would be better if our Conservative Government worked to ensure that any new Sin Taxes are offset by tax-reductions elsewhere. The Conservatives’ main selling-point used to be that of keeping taxes low but it would seem that, ever since David Cameron became Party Leader the Party seems to be more concerned to make sure Public Spending (particularly on the NHS) increases.

    The Conservative Party has taken the wrong lessons from the lost Majority after last year’s General Election; certainly Jeremy Corbyn’s spending promises (i.e. No more student debt) had a good deal to do with it but it was also Theresa May’s ill-advised policy on people’s properties being impounded to pay for their care which one Conservative canvasser said “was going down like a bucket of cold sick with the voters”. Taking money away from voters, whether it be benefit cuts or tax increases, is very unpopular. On the contrary, cutting taxes is popular provided voters see that they have to pay for it in other ways, like through cuts to Public Spending.

    The total tax take in Britain, at 38% of GDP is higher than it has been for years. The Conservatives should, as a Party, be looking at ways to reduce the overall burden on the electorate so that the economy grows and people can look forwards to higher living standards. This can be achieved by cutting wasteful spending and exploring other methods of funding some Public Services (examples include lotteries, renting out schools for business conferences during holidays, shops in hospitals that pay rent, selling some council housing to the occupants but building more with some of the proceeds).

    People want good well-funded Public Services and for the State to provide a financial safety-net for those in need or who cannot work at all; as the economy grows there will be a demand for even better Public Services. State spending at around 40% of GDP is about the right level to ensure the Police, NHS, Defence, Education and Infrastructure function well and the public-sector employees are sufficiently renumerated that high-quality staff are gained and retained: However, taxation cannot be the only means of funding the Public Sector and paying down the National Debt because taxation at over 40% of GDP would stifle economic growth and productivity.

    Ministers need to be doing everything possible to facilitate private-sector funding into the Police, the NHS, Education and infrastructure development. They could do no worse than using the proceeds from the sale of part-nationalised banks to buy up company shares and set-up a well-managed Sovereign Wealth Fund, the dividend-returns from which could- as it grows- help relieve the tax-payer of some of the cost of providing good quality Public Services. Millions of folk in Britain do struggle with an ever-rising Cost of Living; perhaps you Sir could remind Theresa May of the electoral merits of some of these ideas.

    Ian Pennell

  31. JustGetOnWithBrexit
    Posted April 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Our family drink a fizzy drink that is sugar free and the formula has been amended ahead of the sugar tax.
    Reassurances were previously given, that price increases were for sugar based fizzy drinks.

    Surprise, surprise – now we see a 33% increase in prices on our sugar free drink…co-incidence or sheer opportunistic profiteering?

    Much the same as some High Street shops charging 5p for a paper bag…bandwagon…let’s rip-off the consumer…just another Government Given Opportunity for the greedy.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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