As the halfway stage of Stoptober draws near, it has been alleged that plans are afoot that would see the cost of tobacco increased again.
The increase of five percent will be sold as a method of discouraging smokers from continuing the practice, but it will also serve as a handy little earner for the government with a projected £100 million to make its way into the treasury. The estimated figures would supposedly be reinvested in offering further support to help smokers quit.
But the proposal has already come under fire.
The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association believe the government will score an own-goal with the increased taxation.
The association’s general director Giles Roca has said:
Every time taxation is increased on tobacco it loses the Treasury millions that could have been spent on public services.
‘That’s because tax on tobacco has increased by over 40% over the last five years, making UK tobacco the most expensive in Europe. Smokers are then increasingly switching to cheaper and often illegal products, which loses the Treasury some £2.6 billion each year.”
But Conservative MP and Smoking and Health Group chairman Bob Blackman is telling a very different story, focusing on the health benefit.
Smokers don’t just die early, they suffer many years of disease and disability before they do, putting pressure not just on the NHS, but additional disability and social care costs and reduced income tax. Every pound invested over the next five years could deliver £11 to the public purse.”
So in one corner people who sell tobacco don’t want sales hurt, and in the other a government group is selling increased taxation as for the good of the country. It’s pretty easy for both sides to support their cause with a bit of propaganda, so let’s have a look at what the good citizens of the UK have to say on the matter.
Rule of thumb: if big tobacco opposes a policy to do with tobacco then that policy is going to be good for health http://t.co/IZUVeuuvmj
— Neal Patel (@nealcpatel) October 11, 2015
Massive tax increase on alcohol tobacco and sugar = more £ in & less waste in NHS resources Freedom of choice& national responsibility #plan
— martyn ward (@wardymartyn) September 26, 2015
From what has been put out on twitter so far this may actually be a popular move by the Conservative Party. Well I never.