Monday, 1 February 2010

The Mask Slips (Follow The Money)

OK, we've established that it's not about health, and noted the clinking of champagne glasses as sales bonuses come flooding in for ASH and Pfizer et al.

So, is there anything in it for Andy Burnham and the Labour administration? Why, of course there is.

Immediate investment in extra overseas officers to stop 200 million illicit cigarettes entering the UK every year.

My, my, wouldn't that be expensive in a recession? You know, with all the cuts that will have to be made?

Of course not, the funds were prepared last year and, as such, it has been well and truly costed already.

When VAT was temporarily reduced in December 2008, tobacco and alcohol excise duties were increased to compensate, leaving prices broadly unchanged. However, when VAT returns to 17.5%, there will not be a compensatory reduction in excise duty. Therefore, the raising of VAT from 1 January will have a unique impact on the tobacco and alcohol sectors. It will lead to increases of between 13-18 pence on a pack of cigarettes, representing the largest single tax increase since March 2000, when smuggling was at its peak.

So the best way to tackle the increased attraction of smuggling, created by the exchequor, is to employ a few people to stop it ... from the super profits gained by Darling's quiet little exemption in 2008.

Will the wages paid out account fully for the huge windfall from this accounting subterfuge? Well, considering the extra VAT take is probably in the region of £40m per year (based on an a real terms increase of 2.17% on £1.8bn, and that's just the tobacco take), no they won't.

And the best thing is that many of those officers won't be needed for too long anyway, as the WHO are already in the process of stopping the only good thing about the bloody EU, the booze and fag cruise.

Great little scam, and bloody good for increasing the state payroll (and with it potential Labour voters) whilst simultaneously shrugging shoulders and pocketing the cash when the WHO and EU wade in and dull our lives further.

Still not about health, then.


Anonymous said...

Your post contains many valid points, but I think that the most important is the point that you make in your very first sentence. IE. the fact that the original reason for banning smoking in pubs etc was to protect the staff. They now propose to extend the ban to places where there is no one to protect in any significant way. Thus, it is clear that 'tobacco control' has now become an out and out attack on Liberty. It does not matter what the DOH, the Labour party, or indeed, the Tory party, or the healthists say about their well-meaning intentions, that is what it is. It has only just occured to me that the display ban and the plain packet idea is exactly the same. It is no longer a healthist do-gooder idea, it is a direct attack on our Liberty.

It strikes me that what we need is a very high profile champion to defend our Liberty. In the same way that Lord Lawson has championed the people who question global warming. Who could that be?

The one person who immediately springs to mind is Charles Clarke(?), especially if he leaves Parliament at the next GE. He may agree to uphold liberty. All the better if he, or someone like him, organise a group of ex-politicians who will fight for our liberty. These people know how to influence Parliament and get attention.

I think that the healthists have revealed a weak point which needs, somehow, to be exploited.

Man with Many Chins said...

Well, I have just bought several packs of tobacco seeds, and I am going to grow my own. Then HMG can stick their excise duty where the sun doesnt shine.

Oh, and I am thinking of brewing my own as well :-)

Anonymous said...

It will be intersting to see the results of this announcement in the next opinion polls.
Not that it matters on the three mains .
I think it will make a difference somewhere.
Mainly the fringe parties.
I hope.