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Missing Links – The Budget


The UK usually has a Budget from the Chancellor of the Exchequer annually and early in the year, supported from time to time by a mini-budget midway. They are always anticipated (although rarely with eagerness) as people wait, mostly with anxiety, to see what the inexorable rise in the cost of everything will be.


Tobacco products and alcohol always go up, one way or another and sometimes very subtly and unnoticed, as does the cost of transport, in all its forms. Tobacco has long been an easy target and cigarette smokers pay a huge amount to the Treasury in taxes – far more than a fair share. There is an inevitable endgame to the continual beating dished out to smokers; eventually there won’t be any of them. This will be heaven for the anti-smoking brigade but the tax loss will be immense. The hole left in the nation’s finances will be so staggering that the cost of everything else will rise beyond the means of increasingly growing numbers of people, to the point where merely staying alive will become impossible.


Alcohol comes next, closely followed by cars. There is of course, ‘some’ merit in reducing the costs to life itself of smoking, drinking and the pollutant effects of road use. However, how many people do not do at least one of these three things – smoking, drinking or driving? The three are actually somewhat incompatible, particularly drinking and driving but there are few who do not do both, and given the justifiable social abhorrence (from most) and the consequences of combining the two, few will do so. But many, many people will consume alcohol and, separately, drive. If not, they need transport.



Ah, yes - transport. Cars are the most obvious but if not, there are taxis; more cars; buses, trucks and other delivery vehicles; still road users. Trains are greener than they used to be with more of them being electric these days but they are still energy-intensive. Then of course, there are aircraft.


Whether those who enthuse over all things green like it or not, cars, trains, boats and planes are here to stay. As are so many other things so many people are fond of, including smoking and drinking. The task is not to ban any of them but to make use of them in better ways than previously.


That can only happen however if they are there to be used and commer