Chancellor George Osborne has today announced a proposal for a tax on local government tea-kitties.
Speaking during an official visit to a Yachting conference in the South of France he said, “We have identified a massive source of revenue for the Treasury just sitting in jam jars and paper-clip boxes in the drawers and filing cabinets of local government offices up and down the country.”
Treasury officials have suggested that with the amount of tea consumed by council workers, even a modest 10% tax is likely to net more than £1bn over the next two years.
Council leaders are now being asked to draw up collection plans before the final proposal is drafted. One idea is to deduct the tax at source in a PAYD (Pay as You Drink) scheme. However there is opposition to the plans from local government employees and unions.
Mavis Jewson, a UNISON representative for Wolverhampton City Council said, “First they attack our pensions and now they want to rummage through the drawers of underpaid secretaries and office assistants. Our employees work hard to manage these funds even when colleagues miss a week or two.”
Other critics of the Government’s stance include GMB National Secretary, Brian Strutton. “Tea flows through the veins of local government workers, just as Château Lafite, and any decent Cognac keeps your average Tory minister or Trades Union chief ticking over. If you attack any link in the tea chain then the whole local government edifice will collapse.”
One irate employee, Jack Downing, a waste-collection operative from Birmingham City Council said, “This lot have taken us for mugs in the past but this idea really takes the biscuit. What next, a tax on wiping your arse in council time? Er, don’t put that one down just in case…”
Due to lack of tea breaks, local government funded call centres based in India will be exempt from the scheme.