Monday, 17 August 2015

Nannying fussbucketry of the day - cutting your nose off to spite your face


Rory Stewart is a government minister in the environment department. Presented with the opportunity to take some cash off tobacco companies to help clean up litter, he plays the nannying fussbucket card:

In January, Kris Hopkins, then a local government minister, said he wanted tobacco companies to "make a contribution to put right the wrongs as a consequence of their product". The companies offered to fund measures to help clean the country's streets last month, but the offer was rejected by Rory Stewart, a junior environment minister. In a letter to the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, Mr Stewart said that a tie-up risked undermining councils’ work in promoting public health. Mr Stewart said it was "for local authorities to decide whether they wish to work with the tobacco industry", but added that councils should take their own legal advice before accepting the support. He said: "Since April 1 2013, local authorities have had responsibility for improving the health of their local populations and for public health services. The Government's view is that where a local authority enters into a partnership with a tobacco company, this fundamentally undermines the authority's statutory duty to promote public health." 

How stupid is this?



Anonymous said...

Given that the Government turfed smokers out onto the streets, the sensible thing would have been to respond to anticipated increase in smoking litter by
providing more bins. But of course I'm forgetting that the smoking ban - according to the huge billboard posters in the run-up to 1.7.07 plastered by SmokeFree England/ASH/Public Health England or whatever other leech on the taxpayer - trumpeted a Smokefree England and Wales. When complaints began post 1st July about litter there was a suspicion among more enlightened smokers (who knew that the basis on which the ban was introduced was codswallop) that the shortage of bins was a ploy to stigmatize smokers even more.

Was Kris Hopkins expecting tobacco companies to fork out for additional bins? Did he also approach the manufacturers of drinks companies, fast food outlets etc whose discarded products also produce litter?

Before anyone levels the standard accusation that I'm a tobacco industry shill (or perhaps, Simon, your commentators are too polite) I'm merely one of its despised consumers who wonders why the industry isn't already paying more than its share given the amount of duty on tobacco products.


Clarissa said...

Littering, like health care, is one of those externalities we cater for by taxing the hell out of tobacco products. Sadly it is too much to hope for that a government minister might recognise this.

Junican said...

I think that you should ask who is advising Mr Stewart.