Thoughts from category: tax and stuff

I can't go for VAT

For the last few years we've been campaigning to get VAT removed from fruit smoothies. We don't think it makes sense that the government taxes people on something healthy, like our drinks, when food like pizzas and doughnuts aren't taxed. In fact, fruit isn't taxed, but our smoothies are - when all they contain is fruit. Weird.


So we've been scratching our heads with confusion this morning as the government has decided they will continue to charge VAT on fruit smoothies. Ultimately, if the VAT charge was reduced, we could pass the saving on to our drinkers.

We don't want to sound like we're throwing our toys out of the pram here (we probably shouldn't be in a pram anyway - we're fully grown), but if they're going to spend millions of pounds encouraging people to eat more fruit and veg, shouldn't they be making it easier for us to eat more healthily, not harder?

an innocent guide to Copenhagen

The planet's doomed right? It's time to pack the tinned goods and head north. Well not just yet, but we are definitely in last chance territory to keep our climate in a more friendly condition. World leaders will be gathering in Copenhagen this December to try and secure a crucial international agreement for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. There's a bit more information from our Sustainability Jess about why this is all so important on our new innocent guide to Copenhagen page.

Jess will be visiting the Department of Energy and Climate Change in November to meet Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Ed Miliband will be attending the Copenhagen meeting so we thought we'd ask him some questions about the meeting, the UK position and climate change. If you have a question you'd like Jess to ask Ed then complete the form here and we'll pick the five most popular questions for Ed to answer. This guy is important in getting the deal we need in Copenhagen, so it should be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Want do even more yourself? Then check out this site.

not tonight, Darling...


Back in March, we were told that the government weren't going to be taking VAT off fruit juice and smoothies when Alistair Darling came out outside to wave his briefcase.

Just in case we hadn't got the message, they also said 'No' to our petition to drop this silly tax (as 22,045 of you who signed up will already know from the rather standard email No. 10, Downing Street sent last week)

Don't worry though. Like Madonna, we're not ready to chuck in the towel just yet. We've drafted a stiff letter to Mr. Darling, copying in Mr. Brown, to let them know just what we think of their response.

As ever, we'll keep you posted.

no news can be good news (sometimes)


So we've been waiting a while to find out what the government was going to do in this budget. This time last year, they said (buried deep in the small print) that they'd look into 'modernising and clarifying VAT legislation' on non-alcoholic drinks. And 20,000 of you kindly signed a petition to say you think it's a bit odd to tax healthy juices and smoothies, when all sorts of other food is zero-rated.

If any of you are experts in reading budget reports, we'd love to see if they did say anything about taxing juices and smoothies. But we don't think they did. This weekend Vince Cable announced in his speech that he thought it might be a good idea to tax a little bit more on alcohol, and use that money to pay for a reduction in tax on juice. We definitely heard the bit in the budget speech today about pints costing more. But we didn't hear Mr Darling say anything about spending that money on encouraging people to get more fruit on board. Maybe he'll announce that another day. In the meantime, thanks to all of you for helping us with our petition. And don't worry. We haven't given up just yet...