When you're a smoker, a drinker or a motorist, of course
Miserablist Brown's miserable Chancellor announced his much publicised 2.5% VAT cut around 4pm this afternoon. This would have included tobacco, alcohol and petrol, which causes a bit of a problem for these illiberal puritannical bastards.
Reports this morning mentioned a possible 11p cut on a packet of 20 cigarettes and 31p on a reasonable bottle of wine. One can almost visualise the righteous tutting and head-shaking at the prospect of allowing free choice of lifestyles to be financially encouraged.
The result? An increase in duty to counteract the VAT cut.
Labour will try to bill this PBR as being a tax-cutting one, but only on goods that Government have approved. You are to spend your money on what the Government tells you to spend your money on. Just be sure to remember this the next time you are asked for your vote.
If you are a drinker, Labour despises you.
If you are a smoker, Labour is disgusted by you.
If you are a motorist, Labour doesn't give a toss about you.
Got that? Good.
UPDATE 19:17: As an e-mail from The Drinkers Alliance astutely observes, Darling didn't say that the hike in duty would be reduced again once VAT goes back up in 2010. So we can safely assume that this is a permanent tax rise on those who, like a drink, who choose to smoke, and who drive. And I'm sure he'll tax further in the full budget. If I was a swearblogger, I'd call him a cunt.
UPDATE 23:00: In the above update, for 'can safely assume', please read 'was there ever any doubt'
From the PBR document:
to offset the effects of the temporary reduction in VAT, increasing alcohol and tobacco duties, maintaining these increases after December 2009 to support fiscal consolidation;
Fiscal consolidation? WTF is that? I just saw it as plain, common or garden, bullying of free choice.