Tuesday, September 2

Cutting Their Own Throats

It is not encouraging to read in last weeks newspapers that the ratchet of big State involvement in every imaginable nook and cranny of people's lives is quietly working on those things that national Governments have yet to invade.

The British Government certainly qualifies (as we are fond of saying and small business people are aware) as big, invasive, over-regulating, cumbersome, and combined with the EU's obsession with the contents of our waste bins casting its dark shadow over British Government Policy additional taxation is now inevitable. There are we are told plans afoot to tax disposable items such as nappies and razor blades as luxury goods in order to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill sites. This is one of the options set out in a 200-page report commissioned by DEFRA aimed at halving the amount of waste produced on average by each person from 800 to 400lbs a year. Another possible option is the much rehearsed idea of a new rubbish bin tax, based on the amount of waste produced.

All this in the same week as The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate of the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions indicates that British taxpayers pay £19.6 billion a year more than is necessary, even the British Government's own estimate shows that we the hapless taxpayer are paying £7.9 billion too much in so called ''green taxes''.

The "disposables tax", which seems to be the government's main new tactic to cajole and increasingly unwilling population into conformity with yet more EU rules. The idea is to impose punitive taxes similar to those imposed on alcohol and tobacco on basic domestic items that cannot be re-used or recycled. Products targeted include what a recent DEFRA report calls "the usual suspects", such as disposable nappies and plastic carrier bags. However, it also suggests taxes could be applied to other disposable goods, such as paper plates, plastic cutlery, disposable barbecues and even disposable razors, increasing their costs five-fold at a time of already alarming prices on the high street.

Instead of addressing the complex but technically solvable problem of how to lower the ever increasing price of groceries in our shops and encouraging us to be responsible our government appears to be totally bogged down by the task of taxing us all even more.

Whilst the idea of a nation weaned on modern hygienic disposable razors, reverting to the old fashioned and dangerous cut-throat razors is an amusing one, the idea of another tax on already over taxed nation most certainly is not.
Already, there is considerable resentment at the government's enthusiasm for so-called "green" taxes (in reality an excuse to extract more money) and additional taxes and duties on a wide range of essential purchases are not going to be popular either with the men of this country or I might add the HSE (Health & Safety Executive). The thought of standing in front of the bathroom mirror using my newly sharpened razor, a knock at the bathroom door, man in suit with clipboard – Sir, have you completed your Risk Assessment Form for this procedure? Is indeed one to savour.

Our 'brave new Labour' (Brown version) government might have something in common with the men they seek to force into using non-disposable blades for shaving – they will all be cutting their own throats.

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