Today I find myself wondering if Alistair Darling is clueless, inept, or just a bit of a liar.
In his first budget he’s upping the tax on booze to, he says, reduce binge drinking. Not sure how penalising those who drink sensibly is going to achieve that goal. What he fails to realise is that the kids who binge drink aren’t buying pints of beer, wine by the bottle, or spirits. They’re buying a couple of cheap, very large bottles of cider for maybe £2.50 a bottle and getting more than enough units of alcohol to get hammered for very little cash. Upping the price of one of these bottles by 10-15p isn’t going to put them off. It might encourage more to shoplift a bottle or two but in short it’ll make no difference.
Those that binge and get out of control in pubs and clubs won’t notice a few pence added to the price of a pint. I hear that a lot of these bingers take things like ecstasy along with their booze and that’s what really causes the problem. Perhaps he needs to figure out a way of taxing their tabs?
In a “green” move he’s increased the road tax payable on new cars in the first year. Like that will make the slightest difference. You need plenty of cash to buy the tax exempt types of cars such as the hybrid Toyota Prius – so that’s a nice tax dodge for the well off that are environmentally conscious. For those that don’t car about the environment and are loaded enough to buy gaz-guzzling Chelsea tractors, does he really think having to pay an extra £1,000 will make a difference when buying a £30,000 vehicle? If he does then he is both clueless and inept. People that insist on buying these types of “car” really need to be hammered with a road tax of at least £1,000 per year but what Chancellor (Green or otherwise) will ever have the guts to make that kind of budget announcement?
He also claims to be keen to reduce child poverty. In that case why the hell is he waiting until April next year to increase child benefit by £20? If he wants to make an impact he should introduce that change with the same speed as he’s introducing changes that will earn him more tax! At the rate the economy is going a £20 increase in child benefit will equate to roughly bugger all by this time next year!
Not very smart and definitely not very clever.
You can get more details on how we’re all being ripped off on the BBC News web site.