How to declare war on the enemies of enterprise: declare war on shopkeepers, apparently

March 09, 2011 2:47 PM

Today is national No Smoking Day, and to celebrate Andrew Lansley has announced plans to hide cigarettes away under shopkeepers’ counters. A consultation will also be launched on plain packaging. The Prime Minister said only a few days ago that he wanted to ‘declare war on the enemies of enterprise’, but his Government has declared war on shopkeepers. Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, co-signed a letter to the Telegraph along with other think-tank leaders this morning to voice their disapproval with the plans:

Enemies of enterprise seek controls on tobacco

SIR – Today, smokers are asked to observe No Smoking Day. They may also finally get to hear Government proposals that could ban the display of tobacco products in retail outlets, and only allow tobacco to be sold in plain, state-prescribed packaging.

If the Coalition is committed to defeating the enemies of enterprise, as David Cameron, the Prime Minister, claims, a good start would be to call a halt to the relentless campaign to “denormalise” smoking through an endless barrage of new controls, directives and diktats.

Mr Cameron claimed last weekend that he would wage war on bureaucrats who concoct ridiculous rules and regulations. Banning the branding of tobacco products or making cigarettes an under-the-counter product would be yet another victory for these very bureaucrats. Life would become more difficult for newsagents and tobacconists and easier for the providers of illicit tobacco to pass off their wares as legitimate.

We cannot yet be sure about whether the Prime Minister’s commitment to combating regulation and red tape is truly serious. If his Government now unveils proposals to further restrict the sale and purchase of tobacco, it will be a clear sign that his new commitment to enterprise is little more than political rhetoric.

Patrick Basham
Director, Democracy Institute
Dr Eamonn Butler
Director, Adam Smith Institute
Donna Edmunds
Director of Research, Progressive Vision
Dr Helen Evans
Director, Nurses for Reform
Dr Tim Evans
Chairman, Economic Policy Centre
Daniel Hamilton
Director, Big Brother Watch
Angela Harbutt
Executive Director, Liberal Vision
Tim Knox
Acting Director, Centre for Policy Studies
Mark Littlewood
Director General, Institute of Economic Affairs
Matthew Sinclair
Director, The TaxPayers’ Alliance
Simon Richards
Director, The Freedom AssociationToday is national No Smoking Day, and to celebrate Andrew Lansley has announced plans to hide cigarettes away under shopkeepers’ counters. A consultation will also be launched on plain packaging. The Prime Minister said only a few days ago that he wanted to ‘declare war on the enemies of enterprise’, but his Government has declared war on shopkeepers. Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, co-signed a letter to the Telegraph along with other think-tank leaders this morning to voice their disapproval with the plans:

Enemies of enterprise seek controls on tobacco

SIR – Today, smokers are asked to observe No Smoking Day. They may also finally get to hear Government proposals that could ban the display of tobacco products in retail outlets, and only allow tobacco to be sold in plain, state-prescribed packaging.

If the Coalition is committed to defeating the enemies of enterprise, as David Cameron, the Prime Minister, claims, a good start would be to call a halt to the relentless campaign to “denormalise” smoking through an endless barrage of new controls, directives and diktats.

Mr Cameron claimed last weekend that he would wage war on bureaucrats who concoct ridiculous rules and regulations. Banning the branding of tobacco products or making cigarettes an under-the-counter product would be yet another victory for these very bureaucrats. Life would become more difficult for newsagents and tobacconists and easier for the providers of illicit tobacco to pass off their wares as legitimate.

We cannot yet be sure about whether the Prime Minister’s commitment to combating regulation and red tape is truly serious. If his Government now unveils proposals to further restrict the sale and purchase of tobacco, it will be a clear sign that his new commitment to enterprise is little more than political rhetoric.

Patrick Basham
Director, Democracy Institute
Dr Eamonn Butler
Director, Adam Smith Institute
Donna Edmunds
Director of Research, Progressive Vision
Dr Helen Evans
Director, Nurses for Reform
Dr Tim Evans
Chairman, Economic Policy Centre
Daniel Hamilton
Director, Big Brother Watch
Angela Harbutt
Executive Director, Liberal Vision
Tim Knox
Acting Director, Centre for Policy Studies
Mark Littlewood
Director General, Institute of Economic Affairs
Matthew Sinclair
Director, The TaxPayers’ Alliance
Simon Richards
Director, The Freedom Association

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