TapFreshly Squeezed VAT

I have heard a complaint that 100% juice drinks are unfairly taxed with 17½% VAT when, at the same time, government is trying to persuade us to have our 5-a-day fresh fruit and vegetables. There is even a petition on the Downing Street web site (sponsored by ASDA) to reduce this to 5%. The principle is right—it is an anomaly when other less healthy foodstuffs are zero rated. Apparently it is because these high fruit drinks are regarded as luxury items. However, I don’t think we want to introduce multiple VAT bands for different things, just sort out what should be taxed and what shouldn’t. It would create chaos for everyone to not only figure out what is taxed but also at what rate. It is all very well for ASDA who have a sophisticated till system which already allows for it but the small shopkeeper has enough trouble with their VAT return already without adding this and the consumer wouldn’t know what was going on.

In the mean time I have a suggestion. Sainsbury’s Basics Oranges are currently 68p/kilo. I can get about 600ml or juice from a kilo of fruit. They are Valencia variety which we have discovered are very good for juice, are slightly sharp and have a minimum of pith (but too many pips for eating). They are sourced from Spain so no fair-trade worries, as an EU country they can sort out their own ethics. Compare that with 100% squeezed juice with bits at £1.30/litre and you will see that it is good value and much nicer. We have previously tried Jaffas (2 bags of 6 for £2 give 1.2 litres of juice) but find that these are a little too sweet and you need a knife and fork to drink the juice—still very tasty though. As other varieties come into season we will try those but steer clear of Satsumas—they don’t squeeze!

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