Friday, May 02, 2008

Tax: what is it good for...?

Mr Angry is today turning to politics, in a vague manner, as he writes about a recent petition about removing VAT on fruit juice and smoothies.

This is what the No 10 Petition says:
"At the moment, all food (including things like hotdogs and crisps) is subject to a zero rate of tax. But people who want to make a healthy choice and buy smoothies and juices get taxed 17.5% VAT. It's a simple step, and, as more and more people get their fruit in liquid form, it could make a big difference. Our research shows that at least 500 million more portions of fruit would be consumed each year if this happened. Since we all know that eating more fruit and veg is essential to being healthier, it makes sense to help people make positive choices."

Now, we all know that VAT is controlled by the EU and, whilst our local government in Westminster has some leeway, it is still severely curtailed in what it can do.

Still, there is an interesting comment in the official reply:
Dietary based taxes were considered by Derek Wanless in 'Securing Good Health for the Whole Population' -published in 2004. The report highlights a number of difficulties of principle and practice in any attempt to use the tax system to influence diet.

So, the idea of using taxes to affect consumption throws up "a number of difficulties of principle and practice", does it?

So remind me again, what is the justification for the massive fucking taxes on cigarettes and alcohol?


Blue Eyes said...

During the 2000 fuel protests, suddenly petrol tax wasn't to discourage use it was to pay for skoolsnospitals.

John A said...

"So remind me again, what is the justification for the massive fucking taxes on cigarettes and alcohol?'

Oh come now. Tobacco was an easy sell as so few use it (relatively: in the US it is estimated at "less than twenty percent") and even they knew it might adversely affect health. Alcohol, we, Prohibition in the US was such a success that an incremental approach may sneak by.
sort-of related -

A lot of pubs had to close when non-smokers failed to appear after the ban

But some pubs are doing well. How? um, er, ah... by offering an area where patrons can smoke.

Budgie said...

To paraphrase Eric Burdon:
"Tax, what is it good for?"
"Huh, Habsolutely nuthin' "

niconoclast said...

Didn't the tories raise VAT from 5%to 17%?.

Budgie said...


They raised it from 15% to 17.5% to pay for the abolition of the poll tax.

Anonymous said...

To help politicians feel good - retail therapy

Chalcedon said...

You also pay VAT on prepared dog and cat food. So next time you buy your Felix or Pedigree chum 17.5% goes to the Gov.

They were talking about taxing fat in food and indeed junk food. Of course the food lobby was very negative as you would expect.

Sales tax was around 6%. Having a new sales tax at nearly 20% is really scandalous.