The autumn budget was certainly interesting, with some levelling the somewhat unexpected accusation that the chancellor had tried to ‘out-Corbyn’ the Labour Party as a sweetener before yet another potential return to the polls. Of more relevance to the out of home industry, though, was the decision not to apply a tax to paper cups, with Phillip Hammond saying that a so-called ‘latte levy’ “will not at this point deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable” packaging.
This news didn’t delight some, with Greenpeace’s UK executive director, John Sauven, commenting: “We’re currently in the middle of a plastics pollution crisis, and yet the chancellor failed to take even small steps towards stemming the flow of single-use plastics by choosing not to introduce a tax on disposable coffee cups and ignoring calls for a tax on brand new plastic.”
While many in the industry will have breathed a sigh of relief, Sauven fails to acknowledge that Hammond also added the caveat that he expects industry “to go further” and that he will “return to the issue if sufficient progress is not made”.
With many speculating that the chancellor will have to rethink his figures sooner than usual anyway – once the Conservatives finally figure out what exactly Brexit actually looks like and begin implementing it – we would urge those who have already been making admirable progress not to rest on their laurels. After all, despite repeated claims that austerity is now over, the Tories may well make another unexpected raid into Corbyn-omics early next year and try to hastily cultivate a ‘magic money tree’ of their own…