Saturday, 24 September 2011
Scotland's Tesco Tax
More than 700 pubs in Scotland have closed since the smoking ban. Scotland was the Westminster government's trial ground for politicians determined to outlaw smoking, yet the Scots allowed themselves to be used once again, just as they did with the poll tax.
What surprises met is that it was the far left, (led by Tommy Sheridan) who protested against the poll tax, yet the same people supported the smoking ban trial in Scotland back in 2006. Double standards? They're everywhere and our children are more than confused by such attitudes.
Now, after this week's Scottish budget proposals 20% of publicans are considering quitting the business. 'Almost half of Scots say they go to the pub less frequently than they did in 2009'.
I ask myself 'is it any wonder?' Here in Scotland pubs in rural towns aren't -and never have been - particularly female or family friendly and very few supply the comfy image of a country pub providing the best food in town for a typical family Sunday day out. In fact ,in my nearest town none profess to portray that image, yet somehow they've survived the smoking ban. It could be that it's rather a lengthy journey to a city and public transport grinds to a halt in the early evening.
John Swinney's proposed budget puts a tax on major retailers who sell alcohol and tobacco. How will that affect smokers and drinkers?
Tio Pepe in Tesco, in the past twelve months, has gone from £7.20 to £9. 70 - a price which forces me to call it a few times a year treat. The Co-op offer a Fino, not quite the quality but acceptable, for half the price and, all credit to the Co-op, they haven't increased the price in the past few months when they, like Tesco and other major retailers of alcohol and tobacco, knew this could be on the cards. The tax was proposed last year but the government voted against it. This year, with the SNP majority, it will be approved.
Much as I respect my local MSP's ability to use the Scottish budget for the wellbeing of the Scottish people, does he realise now he has imposed this tax upon major retailers, the costs will be passed onto their customers. Mr Tesco and his ilk won't lose out and it's more than probable the giants will spread the costs over their whole stocks rather than target only the drinkers and smokers.
Could John Swinney have an alternative motive? Could our High Street grocers, butchers and the like re-establish themselves? Oh, how I wish - but I dream.