Tag Archives: how much does smoking cost the nhs

Fund The NHS By Taxing The Corporations Who Put Us In Hospital

Some of our beloved brands and corporations are essentially killing their clients and taking their cash. And while it is of course our responsibility if we choose to drive ourselves into a high speed smash; smoke ourselves to lung cancer or drink ourselves to liver failure, it’s big business facilitating it and making billions of profit in the process. It’s estimated that smoking costs the NHS £5 billion a year. It’s obvious that between them, the cigarette companies/smokers should be contributing to that. I’d like to hear one argument that states otherwise.

So, how could you fix it?

Take the burden from the people by setting up an independent agency that scores any company that earns over *insert very large figure*, out of ten (in crude terms), on how negatively they impact people’s mental and/or physical health.

So for example, (and without the insight that my made up agency would garner), high tar cigarette and strong alcohol companies might get a 10/10; car manufacturers with a poor safety record might get an 8; certain fast food and fizzy drinks companies might get a 6 etc etc. Safer brands of the same industry would have a lower score. For example if one car manufacturer’s cars were involved in a proportionately significant high number of deaths or hospital admissions, they would score higher than those who have an impressive safety record. On the flip side, companies who provide benefits to health, could potentially get a minus score (and a tax break). The agency would work on the scoring algorithms and inspect organisations to determine their score.

‘NHS Tax’ them relative to their score and put it all in the NHS. In one fell swoop, you’re funding the NHS and as a nation we can sit back and watch the country’s most dangerous brands get their act together for fear of a high score/tax. One critical safety modification to your very popular family car later and your multinational’s premium goes down a point; a new scientifically developed filter in the cigarette butt of your brand, means there’s far less carcinogens passing through and it proved a worthy investment, as the agency agreed to putting your premium down… etc etc. You get my point.


Naturally, chunks of those premiums would likely filter down to the customer at the point of sale. But they should, shouldn’t they? Smokers should pay for the burden that smoking puts on the NHS; and that pint would taste so much sweeter, knowing that the 25p (or whatever) extra is funding the NHS. Let’s face it, our caring for the price of these vices have been cauterized now – they’re so astronomically priced, what’s a few more pence? It should, in turn, lower the income tax burden on us peasant’s shoulders, anyway. Roughly 5% of our taxes go to the NHS, currently.

So, brands get cleaner/safer, the NHS has more money than it would know what to do with, people benefit in health terms because of the safety improvements/better standards, there’s more money in the pockets of the individual through tax reductions, it doesn’t impact any corporation that doesn’t impact anyone’s health, and the wealthy don’t have to pay for poor people’s NHS care. What’s not to love?

Read An Idea For a New UK Democracy >

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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in activism, NHS, nhs funding, politics, uk politics


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An Idea For A New Democracy In The UK

An Idea For A New Democracy In The UK
political party leaders uk 2016

You don’t have to be red or blue any more; you can just be a grown up.

Never mind all that first past the post and proportional representation. Let’s fix democracy by ending party politics and running with this idea.

Is the morally inflexible nature of ‘nailing your flag to the mast’, firmly affixing yourself to someone else’s ideology and manifesto and signing up for the blue, red or yellow team the way to a better Britain? If 40% of people vote for the blue club – the other 60% are stuck with the blues, even if they’re fervently yellow, purple, red or green. Naturally this would make 60% of the nation slightly disgruntled for 5 long years – it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the whole principal isn’t fair and it doesn’t make for a particularly happy Britain.

We subscribe to a system where we vote for these major parties, loaded with pig-headed politicians, guided by their own mob’s vested interests or inflexible manifestos; fixated with ingrained ideologies and who so often refuse rational input and compromise in order to remain looking like determined ‘leaders’, while perhaps we should expect to look to an eclectic bunch of bright minds, scientists and the technically minded who’d happily admit when they’re wrong and learn from their mistakes. Politics and the political system is looking archaic now. Proper 70s. What’s more, is that governments rotate their team’s people about. Suddenly the bloke in the treasury finds himself in charge of the country’s defences because the PM isn’t best pleased with how one or two of his cabinet are performing elsewhere – and somehow that’s the accepted solution. You wouldn’t have a head mistress who’d never taught before, or had any experience in education, running a school – let alone someone with absolutely no involvement in education – suddenly running the nation’s ENTIRE educational system!

So, how could you fix it?

Ditch the party system. From now on, every five years, individuals who specialise in a field put themselves up for the job of minister within a specific department in government. They are individually elected. As well as an elected PM, we get an elected Foreign Minister, an elected Education Minister and so on.

These heroes in their field perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily dream of joining one of the political parties, but they may well consider a five year stint working solely within their specialism. An elite list of nominees come forward and convince us of what they’d like to achieve, specific to that field – not one man and a team of politicians who’ve little or no experience in any of the services that their departments take care of or a team of individuals we know nothing about individually, and who so often turn out to be schmoozing with lobbying corporations or hide dark secrets from the 80s… When elected, this new workforce move in and get to work. All those who came second in the voting take their seats in the ‘shadow cabinet’, or better still, act as the new ministers’ second in command. You know, working together, as opposed to against each other…

So you’d have a long checklist of MPs to elect at the polling office, but to avoid empty tick boxes and uninformed guesses, everyone would be eligible to pick their choice for PM and three additional MPs only. This way people would prioritise the governmental departments that mattered to them the most. If you’re a taxi driver with kids in school and a very poorly relative in care for example, you might feel passionately enough to put crosses next to your choices for Health Secretary, Transport Secretary and Education Secretary.

In the run-in to an election, as well as the battle for PM, you’d ‘tune in’ to the races for the departments that mattered to you most and that you think you’d pick as your three to put your crosses next to. One televised debate for each department perhaps – you take your pick as to which ones matter to you enough to watch. Imagine the discussions between commuters, at taxi ranks, between lorry drivers, at logistics companies’ head quarters and in train station staff rooms, up and down the country, as the responsibility for electing the Minister for Transport fell reliably upon the shoulders of those who really know the fundamental issues with the system and which candidates are best placed to be installed. And perhaps a fight for a Department for Young People might see some brilliant young candidates coming forward and capturing the imagination of our long lost youth, dragging a couple more million to the polling booths.

The end result would be a hand picked dream team of brilliant individuals being held to account by, and with support from, the second highest vote-getters. Yes, they would all have to work together, just like every other work place in the country – take out the silly, childish team colours and automatic gainsaying that comes with the current political territory, and collaboration looks possible. Normal people, professionals, high profile individuals and existing politicians (yes, the best of them deserve some of these roles!) would all be on a level playing field and the most eligible will rise to the top, never mind their previously defined political leanings.

No more ingrained party-based ideology. Just hard work from people who really know their stuff and how to make the best of their departments, under the watchful eye of the person with the second most votes.

You don’t have to be red or blue any more; you can just be a grown up.

Read Fix & Fund The NHS by Taxing The Corporations Who Put Us In Hospital >>


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