Many people seem to be of the opinion that tobacco is now taxed to the point of being prohibitive, so the revenue from it more than repays the cost of its consequences (to the Treasury).
Government has been holding-down the excise duty on motor fuel, so is more short of money than it would otherwise be. Vehicle excise duty continues to rise on vehicles which qualify for VED, however the onward march of more environmentally motors which qualify for lower or even zero-rated VED leaves the Treasury short.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor promised to increase funding for the NHS by millions without increasing Tax, VAT or National Insurance rates, so how will they find the money. Paul Daniels might be able to conjure something up, but I think we might like it – not a lot!
Cracking down on benefit tourism will save a few coppers, slashing benefits generally will happen, and will make a significant difference but the past 15 years of introduction of in-work benefits has created a dependency which must be removed but in all decency must take a fair while to eradicate. This indirect subsidy means that many jobs are being directly subsidised, keeping wages low, so the tax take isn’t going up much, is it? And will all of these savings really make enough of a difference to how peoples’ expectations of a better life and better healthcare are managed and delivered? I can’t see it.
We hear, also, that treatments for some ailments can be eye-wateringly expensive, so we are increasingly seeing more and more people falling foul of the “Treatment Post-code Lottery”, or just being simply refused by NICE.
There seems to me to be three main causes of obesity:-
Gluttony. Solution? Self-control. (And education)
Fat. Solution? Try to avoid it. (And education)
Sugar. Solution? Talk about persuading food manufacturers and processor to reduce the amount of sugar in the ingredients. Wow! That’s truly amazimg, I wonder which genius thought of that one…… “I say, chaps, it would be awfully good for the government’s image if you were to make your Mars Bars without quite so much sugar in them. Good for the nation’s health, don’t ya know”….. So they merely reduce the item size by 10%, put the prices up by 5% and tell us their bars now contain 10% less sugar and therefore are more healthy than they were!
Is there another way? Isn’t there always? Yes.
We invent a new excise duty and call it Sugar Excise Duty. This applies to ALL sugar and its by-products (sucrose, sucralose etc) and all manufactured sugars like beet sugar, fructose and lactose and any other sugar product. Imported sugar is excised on arrival, manufactured sugar is excised at the factory gate where it is produced. Let us imagine the duty was 100%. (Some alcohol products have high excise duty rates).
Then we raise this duty all the way through the production of the products as a duty on the product before calculating VAT, so an item containing a set level of sugar, lactose, fructose and glucose would have a no-reclaimable level of duty payable according to the level of sugar products in the recipe.
The incentive then would be to re-introduce us to the real taste of the product we buy without so much of the ingredient that experts tell us is helping to cause the obesity problem. It would also lay bare the unhealthy nature of the “light”, “lighter”, “Healthy options” we see. That “Zero-Fat” milk product you bought which has lactose (a naturally-occurring product which occurs in all milk products) added to it to make the “healthier” product taste nicer to compensate for the removal of the fat does contain more lactose than the full-fat, and apparently “less healthy” option but will help you towards a visit to the diabetic clinic! What about “healthy” breakfast cereals, too, some containing oats, barley and dried fruit, especially the healthy-looking Granola and muesli which contains lashings of sugar as well?
We need sugar to give us energy to fuel our bodies, which is why our bodies developed ways to do this starting off with whatever basic food elements our ancestors could find
Sugar is everywhere – even in your ham sandwiches (Sainsbury’s Freedom Fod lean ham) and even in mint sauce – I always thought that contained mint and vinegar. Tot to mention its presence in much of our bread products. Do we NEED it so much, is our traditional food so tasteless?
On today’s showing, an Excise Duty On Sugar (EDOS?)would make food processors think seriously about sugar content but we need safeguarding against many of the “artificial” sweeteners, many of which we might be well advised to reduce, too – or avoid entirely. It would make their customers think again too, before they buy.
The confectionery industry might squeal a bit (a lot) but what have they done to help reduce sugar consumption? Sweet nothing. Tooth decay, fat kids who grow up to be even fatter and become diabetic. Introduce fanciful words like “healthy”, natural, and phrases like “naturally-occurring”
So the confectionery and other sugar producers have had their profits without penalty, they’ve used clever marketing ploys to convince us that their products are healthy, and they have used a highly addictive sensation – sweetness – to hook us into ever greater demand for their product.
There has to be a solution, perhaps this is it. If it is not, The Question is, what can be done to rectify this?