Punitive Green Policies: UK’s ‘Conservative’ Govt to Tax Meat and Cheese

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 8: A steak of Argentine beef is put on the grill of a barbecue restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 08 November 2000. Argentina is famous for the quality of its beef, one of the main exports of the country. The European Commission proposed Wednesday to …
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The UK government is considering proposals to tax all areas of life depending on how polluting they are, with much higher house heating and grocery bills a likely outcome for consumers.

Many Britons look back with amazement, if not bewilderment, at the fact the UK government was once so penny-pinching it even taxed windows, leading to many to brick up their lights to save the bill and, it is claimed, leaving us with the saying “daylight robbery” of a particularly egregious or cruel theft. While this may feel like a regressive tax punishing the poor from a less enlightened time, Britain is now looking to top that achievement in sheer vindictiveness, by taxing meat and cheese.

Britain’s nominally ‘Conservative’ government — although in practice it is generally anything but, having achieved little of note beyond spiralling debt, rising public spending, and unfettered mass migration during over ten years in power — is cleaving to a policy of massive and radical change to serve a green agenda. Seeking to achieve a self-imposed target of net-zero emissions by the middle of this century, the UK government is now looking to use taxes to change human behaviour.

According to a report in The Times revealing the scheme, the taxes would be based on the pre-existing climate taxes on electricity generation and flights, where significant levies are excised on behaviour the government wishes to punish or profit from. In the UK, the report notes, 23 per cent of electricity bills are already comprised of “environmental and social charges” — and the punitive measures are clearly working, with electricity usage already down to 1990s levels.

The report claims a memo has now been circulated around government asking all departments to draw up carbon pricing levels for the areas of everyday life under their purviews. Particularly in the firing line, it is claimed, are the traditional foods Britons have eaten for centuries and the gas used to heat their homes.

As the paper notes, this policy “would mean a de facto carbon tax or charge on products such as beef, lamb and cheese”.

The Daily Telegraph cites a line in the government’s memo, which notes: “The Chancellor and the Prime Minister want a sector-by-sector view on how we could implement some form of carbon pricing … in the next decade”.

While no level of taxation is specified, a recent poll of public attitudes to a meat tax in Europe floated a price of one euro per kilogram, which works out at 40 pence on the imperial pound of meat. This could mean an effective 25 per cent tax on a supermarket pack of pork chops. The study also mentioned taxes on vegan and vegetarian foodstuffs being pushed to zero while meat prices soar — this despite the long-known environmental impacts of the long-distance travel needed for many vegan cooking staples.

Even more punitively, a study by the University of Oxford has even called for a 40-per-cent tax on beef and 20-per-cent on milk.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Members of Parliament who would have to defend this policy, and ultimately could lose their jobs over it, have expressed concerns to the government over the leaked plan, The Sun reports.

Conservative MP Neil Parrish, who represents a rural constituency and who told the paper he had previously farmed cattle and sheep, pointed out such a tax would hit the poor hardest. He is reported to have said: “There’s a lot we can do before we get to a tax… We have to remember that there’s a lot of people out there still struggling to buy food.

“It’s the poorest in society who would pay for it — and they may not change their habits anyway.”

The paper also cited the remarks of Anneliese Dodds MP, a top left-wing Labour member who represents the wealthy, urban Oxford East constituency. She hit a similar note, pointing out how damaging to the poorest imposing a sin tax on basic foods would be.

Dodds said: “The UK is in the middle of the worst economic crisis of any major economy – now is not the time to be hiking taxes on families across the country.”

The MP also took aim at the governing Conservatives, remarking that irresponsible government over the past decade meant family finances needed shoring up, not attacking.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance also criticised the plans. Noting their recent report that found the UK’s tax burden was already at its highest for 70 years and set to rise as the government looked to pay off the debt incurred through its lockdown decision, the think-tank decried even more taxes being invented.

The group said: “New eco taxes would leave slim pickings for struggling families, who rely on cheap energy and food to heat their homes and put dinner on the table.”

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