Wednesday 30 January 2013

Fizzy drink taxes

I debated fizzy drink taxes on Five Live last night with Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum. Last time I debated with Mr Fry he was very keen indeed on taxing soft drinks, but he now seems to be against it.

Listen here from 52 minutes in.

I also have a blog post up at the IEA discussing the motivations of the various organisations who want to set up a whole new layer of bureaucracy with this tax.

The soda tax being mooted will simply turn a £6 billion cost into a £7 billion cost. Sustain do not even suggest that the £1 billion raised should go to the NHS. Instead, they want the money to go to organisations that will raise awareness of obesity - organisations like Sustain, for example. They also want to set up a new quango to implement and monitor the extensive bureaucracy that will be involved.

This is pure public choice theory in action: concentrated interest groups extracting rents from a large population in order to enlarge their own bureaucracy and enhance their own power and prestige. It comes as no surprise to find that Sustain is largely dependent on handouts from the state (mainly from the Greater London Authority and the National Lottery), as are dozens of the other groups who have joined the campaign.

Please read the whole thing.

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