The Conservative Party has been busy scheming ways to deliver the so-called Brexit dividend promised to the electorate before the referendum in 2016, but it is unlikely to come from money saved by leaving the EU.
According to the latest reports Theresa May is set to end an eight year freeze on fuel duty and end the cap on alcohol taxes in order to keep her promise to spend an extra £20 billion on the NHS by 2023.
The money was supposed to be collected from the mis-reported outgoings to the EU, but a more accurate bus campaign would have been “drinkers and drivers will fund our NHS” after May’s latest move.
The Prime Minister is considering an inflation-linked increase on fuel duty next year which would raise £800 million in its first 12 months.
It is one of the proposals that ministers are taking “under serious considerations”.
Ending the freeze on alcohol duty, which covers beer, wine, cider and spirits, and was announced in last autumn’s budget, is also understood to be under consideration.
In the run up to the referendum the Leave campaign said Brexit would deliver a “dividend” from money no longer spent on Britain’s annual European Union membership fee.
May has pledged a “settlement” boost in funding of 3 per cent extra a year to meet the promises, which would mean that by the next election NHS spending would be £350 million a week more than it is today.
But little do the public know that it will be coming straight out of their pocket.
May plans to hike tax on people already struggling to cover the cost of living, with booze and petrol among the most punitive measures available to the government.
Referencing the Brexit fee savings, the Prime Minister said: “The commitment I am making goes beyond that Brexit dividend because the scale of our ambition for our NHS is greater still.
“So, across the nation, taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way.
“We will listen to views about how we do this and the Chancellor will set out.”
Not quite what was promised before the referendum, but then we should be familiar with the smoke and mirror politics of this government by now.
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