Government

Weasel Words from Number 10

Recently there was a petition to reduce the VAT on fruit juices with an aim to help people toward their 'five a day'. I thought this too modest myself, if you really want people to eat healthily why not remove the tax totally, making up for it in other areas? It's annoying that healthy is often expensive (as well as inconvenient... surely there is a market for the healthy takeaway/delivery service? - I suppose the difficulty is getting started) The government responded: 'To date the Government has been sparing in its use of VAT reduced rates and has only applied these where they are affordable, and provide the most effective and best-targeted support for the Government's social objectives when compared with other policy instruments.' - to me, that seems fair enough. I.e. it adds complexity without the gain.

However, here's the weasel words: Furthermore, European VAT rules require that in most cases, the same VAT rate is applied to all competing products. This limits the extent to which any new reduced rate could be targeted on the most healthy fruit drinks.

Rubbish! Are they really saying that most people don't know the difference between a cola and a glass of orange juice?

At the moment, all food (including things like hotdogs and crisps) is subject to a zero rate of tax. But people who want to make a healthy choice and buy smoothies and juices get taxed 17.5% VAT.

Are they really claiming that a fruit juice should not be classed as 'foodstuff'?

The fault of low level civil servants?

Regarding the recent data leak:

The Conservatives say the crisis is down to "systemic" errors at HMRC - but the government insists it was the fault of low level civil servants.'

Source

Rubbish - why was it possible for a low level civil servant to download the entire database in one go and burn it to CD? (i.e. the potential is there to steal it).

A low level civil servant should only be able to view a record at a time, and not export the records at all. This is trivial.

I still can't believe that they thought it'd be too expensive to drop sensitive fields.