The Tax on Takeaways

Posted on February 4, 2011 at 10:03 am,

Fish and ChipsApparently, Oldham Council are considering a one-off tax on takeaways in a bid to tackle obesity.

Whilst most of the news coverage focuses on whether this will help tackle the problem or not, I think that this raises a couple of wider issues. Firstly, there’s the issue that this tax may well be regressive – the burden being passed on to the poorer people who are more likely to eat takeaway food. Secondly, there’s the danger that this will encourage giants like McDonalds and discourage local businesses, who usually contribute more to the local area.

However, the thing that the media has overlooked is that this kind of measure is a way for local councils to get around the cuts that are being imposed on them by the Coalition Government. The revenue raised will provide the funds for services that Oldham Council would otherwise have had to cut. On its own, this measure is small fry. However, it demonstrates that if councillors across the country were more innovative in finding ways to use their existing powers to get around the cuts, then we could avoid a lot of the damage that they will do.

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