Voters Say No to Sin Taxes
By Warwick Bartlett
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) asked a sample of 4,135 UK adults what they thought about “sin taxes”. The good news is that the IEA did not consider gambling as a “sin”, although many people in Government do. So you might wonder why I choose to feature these results. The reason is that I believe Governments are out of touch with the way the public feel about gambling and the results of the survey I think demonstrate that.
I have always argued that most people nowadays see gambling as mainstream leisure entertainment. Indeed the last Labour Government thought so too during the passing of the 2005 Gambling Act. This all changed when the Daily Mail got on its soapbox and began its anti gambling campaign.
Here are the results of the IEA survey:
1. 70% of the people surveyed think that it is an individual’s responsibility to make their own lifestyle choices and the government should not interfere.
2. 50% believe indirect taxes are too high, eight in ten believe they hit the poorest hardest.
3. The majority of people believe the government should not offer financial incentives to people who are trying to lose weight (61%) stop smoking (60%), or stop drinking excessively (62%).
4. The belief that it should be the individual’s responsibility to make their own lifestyle choices is more widely felt among UKIP (82%) and Conservative (74%) voters than Labour (68%) and Liberal Democrats (64%).
The conclusion appears to be that the people of this country feel they are qualified to make their own choices in life. You would, of course, be entitled to take a contrary view had the people not been educated, but they have.
So is government’s meddling in the day to day lives of it people the result of the fact that politicians believe our education system is failing the population and thus greater state “protection” of the population’s lives is required?