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  • I want my juice without VAT!

    by Sunny
    19th May, 2008 at 4:30 am    

    This is a guest post by regular PP commenter Douglas Clark

    I am a huge supporter of the petitions hereabouts. I have signed up for Iraq interpreters. I have signed up for ‘no change’ to 24 weeks.

    I have even signed up for no VAT on juice. What?

    The no VAT on juice is not a Pickled Politics issue. It is an Innocent (fruit juice plc) issue. But it is right. If I buy oranges - VAT free - I can squeeze them, using my juicer. Yet, if I want to buy juice, already squeezed, add VAT.

    Given that juice is good for you, yes it is, I am somewhat amazed that this was (part of) the response from HMG:

    Dietary based taxes were considered by Derek Wanless in ‘Securing Good Health for the Whole Population’ -published in 2004. The report highlights a number of difficulties of principle and practice in any attempt to use the tax system to influence diet. Furthermore, European VAT rules require that in most cases, the same VAT rate is applied to all competing products. This limits the extent to which any new reduced rate could be targeted on the most healthy fruit drinks.

    Petition information -

    It is not the most important issue on the planet, it is, however, indicative of how out of touch this government actually is. I think.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Humour,Party politics

    11 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. I want my juice without VAT!

      [...] Continue Reading [...]

    1. Nathaniel Tapley — on 19th May, 2008 at 6:26 am  

      Sorry? Really? This is what shows how out of touch the government is?

      Not the abolition of the 10p rate of tax, not its insistence on 42 days’ detention, not its reclassification of cannabis, but its response to a petition started by the producers of Innocent smoothies?

      The argument is a nonsense. If I want to buy the component parts of any item I wouldn’t have to pay the VAT on them (at least not the VAT charged by the people who assemble them), that’s what VAT is. A value-added tax. It’s a tax on the work someone does to create or enhance value, on the basis that juice is more valuable to most people than unsqueezed oranges.

      Guess what? You could avoid paying VAT on your car by buying each part of it, and putting them together yourself (apart from the VAT you’d pay on the component parts themselves, as a result of someone’s having assembled them from metal ores and rubber plants).

      I was also, quite frankly, astonished by your assertion that you were ‘amazed’ that the government’s response to a petition started by a manufacturer of a product who wanted it to be taxed less, in which it explained that it would be both counter-productive (although some juices and smoothies might be healthy, not all are) and possibly illegal to so do, was not thoroughly enthusiastic.

      If this petition seriously believed what it stated (that VAT on smoothies was forcing people to drink non-juice alternatives), why did it only propose reducing the VAT to 5%. If it were so important, why not get rid of it all together?

      Apparently, Innocent’s ‘research’ shows that an extra 500 million portions of fruit would be consumed. By whom? That’s 10 portions a year each. That means that almost once a month every person in the country is deterred from having a portion of fruit by the VAT that is not levied on actual fruits anyway. Presumably they stop being thirsty because of the tax burden. Or go and buy a Coke… on which they also have to pay VAT.

      I… Oh, what’s the use. I’ve not been to bed yet and I’m ranting at the Internet. My apologies. This is probably a very important issue. I’m just in a bad mood.

      I’ll go to bed.

    2. Leo — on 19th May, 2008 at 9:32 am  

      If i’m not mistaken, this was floated as a Lib Dem policy proposal a while ago but the august Dr Cable:

    3. Rumbold — on 19th May, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

      Trying to get the government to reduce its tax take eh? Good luck.

    4. Justforfun — on 19th May, 2008 at 5:40 pm  

      Value Added Tax.

      A company takes an orange, squeezes it and puts it in a packet for your convenience - you’re damn right it should be taxed!

      The VAT should be double if its in ‘portion packs’ !!

      If you want to save the tax, squeeze your own oranges. Or better still buy one of these.

      ‘Innocent’ smoothies - my ar*e.

      Reduce the tax on Whiskey first! - its only water with a long shelf life!

      And then there is ‘medicinal’ stout - Was it not once prescribed on the NHS ?


    5. Refresh — on 19th May, 2008 at 11:39 pm  

      I would have no compunction for a windfall tax on this upstart. Innocent indeed.

      They are all out to fleece you and generate as much publicity for themselves as possible.

      A windfall tax on the utility companies; the oil companies and any other company that thinks they work for their shareholders.

      Whilst I am fired up, we demand a change in the company law. Shareholders should come last, customers come first. Yes they should put their money, sorry our money, where their mouth is.

      Do not trust anything coming out of any boardroom. Not any of those pathetic surveys which tell you that you are probably the only one who is missing out, and most certainly not any legislation backed by the corporate sector.

    6. Refresh — on 19th May, 2008 at 11:42 pm  

      Hello Douglas,

      I think I should go have my cocoa.

      To be honest I was more annoyed by the child-like innocents on the Invade Burma thread, and seemed to have let off steam here. Hope you don’t mind.

    7. douglas clark — on 20th May, 2008 at 2:11 am  

      Oh Dear.

      It seems to be the case that sticking fruit down folks throats is generally viewed as a ‘good thing’, even by our government:

      See here:

      And Innocent, who are probably biased, not innocent you might say, think they could sell oodles more of this stuff if the government dropped VAT on it. Which would be healthy!

      So, a government which screams from the rooftops that we are costing it money through the NHS is also taxing something that it recognises as a good thing? Quite apart from the government having no money of it’s own, it acts against it’s own interests?


      Mr Tapley, no, it ain’t the most important thing in the world, I think I said that first, but it is a health issue. And I’ll draw a veil over you car analogy. Although I’ve read elsewhere that if you assembled a car from it’s bits it’d cost you three or four times the retail price.

      Leo, Thanks for the link. If I’d known I was spouting Liberal Party policy I’d have stuck that into the rant too.

      JustforFun, whisky is cheap enough as it is. I’ve had the hangovers to prove it.

      Rumbold, thanks to Leo, I now know I really am a Liberal! It’s near as dammit Party Policy.

      Refresh. Sure, tax companies that are doing us down. And if Innocent make obscene profits then tax them too. No problem with that. Just make sure the customers get something healthy to drink. That’d fit with your philosophy, no?

      This was not particularily serious post, but it is indicative of how the government reacts to petitions generally. That, I think, is worth considering.

    8. Refresh — on 20th May, 2008 at 2:23 am  


      ‘That’d fit with your philosophy, no?’

      yes it would, but its one half of them who screw us feeding us with trash; and years later they change their spots and come in again to ‘put it right’ and screw you over again.

      Its a bit like the climate change industry. Imagine the wealth that will be generated clearing up the environment. Having dragged us all down the consumerist path, where everything is disposable - now we need a glossy message telling us why we should play our part.

      Douglas, what happened to the delicious homemade lemonade? Why don’t we get a petition up supporting that and homemade ice cream? Why should it have to come through the pipes of Innocent Corp.?

      And why is Innocent so expensive? Couldn’t they sell more if they dropped their price by 5%?

      Don’t trust them Douglas. Oh and don’t trust the government, they’ve sold us all to the Corporation.

    9. douglas clark — on 20th May, 2008 at 2:51 am  



      What was it Lou Reed said? “Believe none of what you read and only half of what you hear”, something like that.

      Though it is amusing, sometimes, to take a step back and wonder what is really going on.. In this case I think it’s the government that is hiding behind a smokescreen. It seems their knee jerk reaction to any petition - not just this one - is not to embrace it or even to shake it all about, but to justify themselves to their political masters. Using language that is frankly designed to bore us all to tears…

      It is dispiriting, that’s all.

    10. Refresh — on 20th May, 2008 at 11:45 am  

      ‘It is dispiriting, that’s all.’

      I can see why you would say that, but reading this thread and the one on Burma (and of course the sky-rocketing utility bills, their profits) has reminded me of what I was about. I feel the opposite and with a passion.

      The whole world is being prostituted, and our governments are the pimps.

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