RICHARD ORD: Budget leaves a sour taste for sugar lovers

There was a time when the only reason I watched the Budget was to find out if beer and tabs had gone up.

Priorities, however, change as you get older.

These days, with a mortgage, growing family commitments and investment plans to consider, I watch the Budget solely to find out if beer is going up. I can’t afford to smoke, but I need to drink.

My wife plays closer attention to the tweaks and adjustments to our fiscal thingamajigs and budget bobbins (stop me if I’m being too technical).

We decided early on in our relationship that she would oversee all the financial dealings and that I would “keep my stupid nose out of things that don’t concern me.”

I know “keep my stupid nose out of things” sounds harsh, but since I chose our wedding venue, she got to write the vows.

Hence I agreed to “Love, honour and keep my stupid nose out of things that don’t concern me, till death us do part.”

This budget saw Chancellor George Osborne freeze tax on beer, cider, whisky and spirits. There would be no rise in the price of our favourite ales and tipples. And, in my experience, that is usually a sign that he’s going to stitch us up somewhere else.

And in comes the sugar tax. Normally, that wouldn’t bother me, but in our house, sugar is the staple diet of our two boys.


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They don’t so much think about sprinkling sugar on food, but what food they can put under their sprinkling of sugar.

Take Tuesday morning for example. Our Bradley, 15, said he was going to take a jam sandwich to school to “tide him over lunchtime.”

“There’s some ham in the fridge,” I told him helpfully. “You could put that in your sandwich.”

Bradley: “I don’t think ham and jam would go together.”


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Me: “Don’t have the jam.”

Bradley: “No jam. No sandwich.”

His brother is worse.

In a bid to encourage a more healthy diet, we bought a juicing machine and filled the fruit bowl. I caught our Isaac, 12, the other day, making himself a smoothie. Into the blender went milk, a banana, a slice of chocolate cake and two cookies.


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“It’s too sweet,” he declared, after downing the brown sludge. You don’t say!

“That’s bananas for you,” I told him. He nodded.

The sugar tax is all very well, though I suspect it will do for the consumption of sugar what taxing tobacco has done for the smoking of cigarettes. Absolutely nowt.

Instead of cutting down on the spoonfuls of sugar in their pop, fizzy drink manufacturers will simply charge more for their product. The public will buy the fizz, leaving them less money to spend on fruit!


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While I pay little attention to the Budget, if I were dishing out investment advice, I’d say put your money in dental fillings – it’s a future growth area.

But what do I know? Money matters are something I tend to keep my stupid nose out of these days.