'Dog tax' proposal ditched a week after it was mooted

The Government has ditched proposals for a "dog tax" that would force owners to insure against their pets attacking people barely a week after the idea was first floated.

The proposal, part of a consultation to tackle the issue of aggressive dogs in inner cities, was launched last Tuesday, triggering criticism from charities and responsible pet owners. Ministers had argued that forcing 5 million owners to take out third-party insurance would ensure that victims were compensated.

The plans were also greeted with scepticism by the insurance industry, which raised questions over how compensation would work for uninsured dogs. Opposition parties were quick to sense the mood, with the Tories releasing a poster with Gordon Brown's head superimposed on a Churchill Dog with the line: "A dog tax on 5 million owners? Oh yes."

Yesterday Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, confirmed that the proposal would not be turned into policy, arguing that ministers did not "want to penalise" responsible dog owners. Mr Benn said: "We can rule out compulsory insurance for all dogs. The idea was something that was raised with us because of the horrific injuries some very dangerous dogs can cause. It was therefore included in the government consultation document."

He added: "We've got to make sure that the public are protected and we're taking public concern seriously by asking how we can sensibly review the law that we've currently got."

The Tories branded the decision as a "humiliating U-turn" for Labour, while the Association of British Insurers dismissed the plan as "unworkable".

Nick Herbert, the shadow Environment Secretary, said: "Labour have dithered for years on this issue, and then rushed out a policy consultation weeks before an election that was immediately seen as totally flawed."

He added: "We need a comprehensive approach to this problem with a focus on the minority of owners who use dangerous dogs as weapons, not the vast majority of responsible dog lovers."

The insurance proposal was part of a consultation review of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, which includes options to extend the law to cover private property, introduce dog control notices, and remove exemptions that allow some people to keep banned types of dogs. More than 100 people a week are admitted to hospital after dog attacks.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones