Budget 2008: Simon Sweetman's budget sketch
Today, as the Chancellor spotted, is National No Smoking Day (though sadly for the makers of cumbersome jokes, not also Ash Wednesday). Now once putting 11p on a packet of fags would have been seen as cruel and unusual, but no more, I think. The smokers are beaten : if they’ll sit outside in the winter to play bingo, they’ve given up.
And there can be no surprise – and not much anger - at increases in the excise duties on alcohol, either. The proportion of the price of a pint of beer which goes in tax has fallen immensely over time.