SUGGESTIONS keep coming in for new tax ideas to help poor Ken Clarke balance his Budget this autumn. The aim is to fill Treasury coffers while discouraging some of life's many irritants. Your letters show a positively catholic variety of hates, prejudices and obsessions. The following have been ruled out on grounds of practicality or fairness: Cycling Shorts Tax; Muzak Tax; Car Sticker Tax (with a special punitive rate for 'My other car is a Porsche'); High Heels Tax (at pounds 5 an inch); Couples Who Do The Weekly Shopping Together and Block Supermarket Aisles Tax; Fat Bottoms Tax; Everyday Clothing with 'Dry Clean Only' Labels Tax; Plastic Mini Milk Container Tax; Mothers Taking Their Little Darlings to School in the Volvo/Shogun/BMW Tax.
This week's winner of a bottle of champagne is a reader from Penrith in Cumbria who proposes a tax on electrical appliances sold without a plug. This might not bring in much revenue but it would surely encourage manufacturers to mend their ways. The Department of Trade and Industry now seems to be back- pedalling on the necessary rules to force appliance makers to fit plugs as standard. 'It's still awaiting ministerial decision,' was all it would say on Friday.
Meanwhile, two or three people each year are fatally electrocuted through incorrectly fitted plugs, and hundreds more injured.