An amendment to the 2021 Budget to increase tax on cigarettes and alcohol to help fund an increase in the island’s tax allowance was voted out.
A long and heated debate followed Deputy Peter Roffey’s proposal before it was soundly thrown out.
During the 2021 Budget debate the amendment was brought before the States Chamber by Deputy Roffey and seconded by Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez.
“Tobacco remains one of the greatest threats to the health of our community,” said Deputy Roffey, “and it costs the taxpayer of Guernsey millions of pounds every year.”
Pictured: Deputy Roffey urged his colleagues to vote the amendment in, because it wouldn't cost anything - "it is revenue neutral".
The amendment proposed a taxation of the standard rate on anything above £11,950 instead of £11,875. Balancing this out, it was also proposed that instead of the £396 per kilo excise duty on tobacco, there would be £407 per kilo excise duty instead.
Most of the assembly did not agree with Deputy Roffey’s proposals.
“I can see the argument for putting higher taxes on cigarettes but not on alcohol. The problem is they’ve lumped alcohol and cigarettes into the same amendment,” argued Deputy Neil Inder.
In his maiden speech, Deputy Andy Taylor said the health issues shouldn’t be considered because you can’t decide where people spend their money.
“I’d ask that members disregard any of the health issues raised in this debate, if we put extra money in peoples pocket we have no control of where that goes, if we’re worrying about health issues then this could be considered quite a big bender allowance.”
Pictured: 13% of Guernsey's population consider themselves smokers.
Other members of the assembly were concerned that instead of helping the poorer members of our society, it would actually help the people who didn’t need it.
“This benefit will go to people like me, people who can afford it. I will benefit because I will get a tax allowance,” said Deputy Peter Ferbrache.
Deputy Roffey seemed to admit defeat after hearing the assembly’s concerns and after it was split into two proposals, it lost to a majority vote.
Pictured top: The proposal to increase tax allowance was voted out 28/10 and the increase in excise duty voted out 32/6.
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