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?