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A small test of how the state expands – that period poverty charity

Summary:
Now that the mistake has been made to hand out sanitary products for free in schools we can use this as a little test of one of Milton Friedman’s contentions. That there’s nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.For Phil Hammond has, along with that freebie stuff, announced that tampons etc will be VAT free the moment we are free of Brussels and thus able to make them so. OK, we’re fine with that, both that they should be VAT free and also that domestic taxation should be something decided domestically by the domestic legislature.It’s just that the VAT collected has been, for some years now, sent into a special fund to pay for special projects:The government has already pledged to remove VAT on sanitary products – the so-called “tampon tax” – when the UK leaves the European

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Now that the mistake has been made to hand out sanitary products for free in schools we can use this as a little test of one of Milton Friedman’s contentions. That there’s nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.

For Phil Hammond has, along with that freebie stuff, announced that tampons etc will be VAT free the moment we are free of Brussels and thus able to make them so. OK, we’re fine with that, both that they should be VAT free and also that domestic taxation should be something decided domestically by the domestic legislature.

It’s just that the VAT collected has been, for some years now, sent into a special fund to pay for special projects:

The government has already pledged to remove VAT on sanitary products – the so-called “tampon tax” – when the UK leaves the European Union. Currently it channels the revenue it raises to good causes.

Now that the problem has been entirely solved - both the VAT and the schools poverty thing - how many of those good causes are going to be defunded? And how many will end up being absorbed into some other funding stream?

It’s a good test of that contention, isn’t it? The state lingers on, as bureaucracies tend to, even when we’ve entirely solved the issue by other means. We are going to be able, here, to test that contention in detail.

Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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