Tories Don’t Want to Be Punished for Their Sins Next Week

The Tories like to present themselves as a party that believes in “small state” values – but can that really be said to be true now? Rishi’s administration is looking like one more focussed on interventionist ideas in the field of public health than a libertarian one. Inflationary “sin taxes” on booze and bans on nicotine feel distinctly unconservative.

In contrast to Downing Street’s policy priorities, when ConservativeHome surveyed 696 readers the results suggested that the party leadership are at risk of not understanding their own members. Only 3% of Conservative Party members believe the party should focus more on social policies (such as lifestyle interventions) rather than on economic policies (such as reducing taxes). Moreover, 61% of Conservative Party members oppose the Prime Minister’s plans to gradually increase the age at which people can buy tobacco. If we are at the point of a Rishi reset towards the Blue Wall then a return to true blue stances in the Autumn Statement would be welcome.

A staggering 98% of Conservative Party members surveyed agreed that an 18 year old – a legal adult – should be able to buy and consume vapes/e-cigarettes. Rishi’s proposed generation ban will be incredibly difficult to enforce and is unlikely to be observed. It would mean that, by 2037, a 27-year-old would need to be supervised by someone older in order to be sold a packet of cigarettes. Some 61% of Conservative members oppose Sunak’s plan to gradually increase the age at which people can buy tobacco.

The blanket alcohol duty freeze ended 1 August, meaning levies have already risen by 10% in line with inflation. Back then, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association Chief Executive Miles Beale warned that the “crippling” rises in the price of most drinks would further fuel inflation. In the Autumn Statement, Jeremy Hunt seems poised to hit wine drinkers with a second rise in duty. This will take the average cost of a bottle of wine to above £8. Do Tory members really expect to see such sharp tax rises that would often be associated with the type of public health agenda Labour pursues? 

mdi-timer 17 November 2023 @ 13:30 17 Nov 2023 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Natalie’s Making Blackberry Moonshine

Usually it is those of us of a more libertarian bent who rail against regulations that prevent individuals with enterprise creating goods and services which do no harm to others. Growing your own cannabis, picking psilocybin mushrooms for traditional religious festivals or brewing your own moonshine for personal consumption is celebrated by most of us with free market leanings. It is usually interfering nanny staters like the Green Party who want to regulate, ban and tax the voluntary exchange of goods and services between consenting adults…

Natalie is making her own “BlackBerry Whiskey” – sounds like a cracking idea. However it is actually illegal to manufacture spirits in the UK without a distiller’s licence as required under the provisions of Section 12 of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 and this includes manufacture for “own or domestic use”. Public Notice 39 – “Spirits production in the UK” provides details of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs’ requirements – they are quite draconian. If Natalie is brewing whiskey, she has got a distiller’s licence, right?Natalie is a relentless campaigner for tighter regulation of food production, the distilling of spirits has been regulated for centuries – home distillers having a tendency to produce moonshine that blinded consumers or poisoned them. Natalie is in favour of coming down hard food producers who break the law…

UPDATE: Some are suggesting that she is merely infusing blackberries into whiskey. This is a worse crime. Ruins the whiskey.

mdi-timer 15 August 2017 @ 12:56 15 Aug 2017 @ 12:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Smoking Is Good For Us

Today we learn that smokers are a net benefit to the UK economy to the tune of £14.7 billion per year. A report into ‘sin taxes’ by the Institute of Economic Affairs examines the net effect of smoking on the taxpayer. It finds:

“In the absence of smoking, the government would spend an extra £9.8 billion annually in pension, healthcare and other benefit payments (less taxes forgone). Duty paid on tobacco products is £9.5 billion a year. In total, the gross financial benefit to the government from smoking therefore amounts to £19.3 billion. Subtracting the £4.6 billion of costs produces an overall net benefit of £14.7 billion per annum.”

Tell that to the next healthy living campaigner who piously tells you smokers are a drain on the NHS…

The report is one in a series looking at Britain’s ‘sin taxes’. The studies conclude:

“Taken together, Britain’s public finances would be £22.8 billion worse off if there were no drinking, smoking or obesity.”

The public cost argument is often used to justify government meddling in people’s lifestyle choices. In fact, as this study shows, blaming smokers, drinkers and fast-food-lovers for spiralling healthcare costs is just a moral fable employed in an effort to control behaviour rather than to actually save money. Freedom of choice is not only right morally, it makes fiscal sense…

mdi-timer 7 August 2017 @ 12:28 7 Aug 2017 @ 12:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments