Sin taxes are all around us. They are hardly new, either. The origin of alcohol duty can be traced back to the 1643 Excise Ordinance levied by Parliament during the English Civil War.
Their reasoning is fairly straightforward — governments impose levies on goods and services which are judged to have a harmful effect on individuals or the wider community. They also raise lots of money. Alcohol duty brings in more than £12 billion a year, tobacco another £10 billion.
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