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IT seems to me that some joined-up thinking is required by our Chancellor. If, for example, cigarettes are increased in price where it makes them worth stealing, that will and does happen.

If the price was reduced to say £1.50 to £2 per pack of 20, but the strength reduced so that a person had to smoke ten or more to get the same ‘hit’, this could turn people off smoking and raise revenue.

Similarly beer and spirits’ strength could be reduced and supermarkets and off licences only allowed to sell the very lowest strength booze so to get a good pint or strong short, one would have to go to a pub.

It seems to me that, apart from income tax, VAT is the most hated tax. Many trades people will offer the alternative – pay by cheque or card and pay the VAT or pay cash and avoid VAT, bearing in mind a small firm may not be registered for VAT. So the higher the Chancellor pushes VAT the more the incentive to dodge paying it.

So, if VAT were to be reduced for things one has to buy such as white goods, furniture, etc, it could be increased on things not so necessary, such as cameras, mobile phones, jewellery and phones, etc. I can but hope that the chancellor reads this letter.

RA TILLY, Southampton.