Big increases in duty on alcohol and high-polluting cars have been announced by Chancellor Alistair Darling.
In his first Budget he put 4p on a pint of beer, 14p on a bottle of wine and 55p on a bottle of spirits. Duty on a packet of cigarettes is up 11p.
He announced a one-off £950 tax on the most polluting new cars but put a 2p rise in fuel duty back six months.
Wow. Thanks, O benevolent one!
Of course, it's not just drinkers, smokers, and drivers who are handing over more and more of their money to the government. Between 2000 and 2007, government spending as a share of GDP grew from less than 38% to over 45% - a quite phenomenal increase. The government is helping itself to more and more of our money each year. Consider this, from the Telegraph:
Middle-class families are paying an extra £1,250 a year after suffering the sharpest rise in their tax bill of any leading Western country over the past five years, figures show.The Telegraph asks its readers: "What should Alistair Darling do for the middle classes?". My suggestion: shoot himself in the head. And, to ensure that all sections of the community are represented, he should first shoot Gordon Brown for the working classes, and a cabinet colleague of his choice (Jacqui Smith, perhaps?) for the upper classes.
In a major blow for Alistair Darling hours ahead of his first Budget, comprehensive research has shown that the middle classes have shouldered one of the world's biggest increases in their tax since 2002.
During the same period the average tax burden in most countries actually declined, according to the report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD].
But British families with two children and one earner on the average wage saw their tax bill increase by some £1,243 between 2002 and 2007, based on the current median annual wage of £19,856.
Of course, the Tories wouldn't be much, if any, better. They're committed to matching Labour's spending programme for at least three years. It seems that all three main parties regard the public as little more than a piggy bank, to be tipped upside down and rattled every time they want some more money to play with and, generally, waste.