Rubbish tax should be thrown out

PUBLISHED: 09:48 16 February 2007 | UPDATED: 22:34 28 May 2010

So we re all set to be clobbered by another tax. This time it s a rubbish tax and it could be as high as £120 per family. New proposals being considered by the Government will allow, almost certainly instruct, councils to impose a levy on household waste.

So we're all set to be clobbered by another tax. This time it's a rubbish tax and it could be as high as £120 per family.

New proposals being considered by the Government will allow, almost certainly instruct, councils to impose a levy on household waste.

The idea is that such a levy will lead to a much greener environment because it will persuade us all to recycle more,

Maybe some people will; but there's a fair chance that the benefits they create will be offset by those who will avoid the extra payment by indulging in a bit of night-time fly tipping.

Surely the Whitehall strategy unit behind this half-baked innovation would do better to look at the wider picture and make sure families are not left with so much junk to get rid of each week.

Supermarkets have a lot to answer for here. Why do we need shrink-wrapped cucumbers and cabbages? Why do lettuces and cauliflowers need to be in plastic bags? Why are meat joints, and many other products, sealed in both polystyrene and plastic?

I remember not that many years ago being able to go to B & Q and buy a few nails or screws from an open display. Now they are in sealed packs forcing us to buy far more than we need.

The list of over-packaged items is endless, and enhanced by the millions and millions of plastic carrier bags dished out at the checkouts. Some, I know, are biodegradable. Far too many are not.

Supermarkets must be encouraged to use greener packaging and less of it. Maybe we should be able to return packaging to the stores they came from so the supermarket chains can get rid of their own mess.

In the meantime the rubbish mountain gets bigger, and I guess, in the end, it will take an EU edict to force our retail industry to put its house in order. Then, of course, most of us will complain about Brussels interfering in the UK's sovereignty.

And don't make the mistake of believing, assuming the rubbish tax does come into force, that councils will be able to keep the cash and use it for the benefit of the people.

No, councils get clobbered just like the rest of us. The tax, one way or another, will find its way back to Whitehall as yet another stealth tax.


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