| Alistair Darling's first budget inevitably included
a rise in cigarettes (up 11p for 20) and alcohol (from
midnight on Sunday, alcohol duty rates will increase by
6 per cent above the rate of inflation. Beer will rise
by 4p a pint, cider by 3p a litre, wine by 14p a bottle
and spirits by 55p a bottle. Alcohol duties will increase
by 2 per cent above the rate of inflation in each of the
next four years).
You can read the whole
budget speech here or a summary on most newspaper
websites, but I just want to comment on some aspects.
I care about the environment, after all, I live there.
Maybe something needs to be done about plastic bag use
(I never throw them away as I either reuse them on shopping
trips or as bin bags). Do we need legislation to make
shops charge us for them?
What about the far more important environmental disasters
in their early stages, like the chemicals that some
people flush down the toilet that end up in the rivers
and seas that are having 'gender-bending' effects on
marine life? These chemicals are now in other food chains,
as suggested by this article in the Daily Mail, where
starlings have become more effeminate due to ingesting
female hormones from the contraceptive pill and hormone
replacement therapy. The article also reminds us that
oestrogen in sewage outlets is changing the sex of fish
and causing males to produce eggs.
I think it is probably obvious that certain chemicals
are also in the human food chain and are to blame for
boys becoming more effeminate and girls entering puberty
Pensioners really better off?
Although the Chancellor is raising fuel payments by
£50 a year for over 60's and £100 for people
over 80, will they be better or worse off after increases
in utility bills? With the scrapping of the 10% income
tax rate, many pensioners will be worse off regardless.
The budget as an excuse to expand the Police State
"Today I can announce new measures at Heathrow
and other airports to ensure that a greater use of biometric
technology speeds up the time it takes passengers to
get through immigration control."
I bet it will be easier still when they decide it's
barcode tattoo or implanted microchip time.
Mr. Darling stated "And so the Secretary of State
for Children, Schools and Families will be investing
£200m to bring forward by a year to 2011 the Government's
aim for no schools to have fewer than 30 per cent of
its pupils achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs, including English
£200 million? Surely it could not possibly cost
that much to dumb down the exams even further.