Revealed: Britain is third worst country in EU for nanny state regulation
Only Finland and Sweden are seen as more meddling than Britain, according to a new analysis
Source: The Telegraph
By Michael Wilkinson
31 Mar 2016
Britain is the third worst country in the European Union for nanny state regulation, a new analysis has found.
A league table of state regulation puts Britain just behind Finland and Sweden as the most meddling country in the EU.
The 2016 Nanny State Index, published today by the Institute of Economic Affairs, gave every EU country a score out of 100 according to how it regulates private lifestyle choices on alcohol, food, soft drinks, tobacco and e-cigarettes.
Excessive regulation and punitive ‘sin taxes’ have resulted in the UK sitting third in the league table. Ireland takes the fourth spot. The Czech Republic gets the lowest score, making it officially the most liberal country in the EU.
Finland is the EU’s number one nanny state thanks to its taxes on chocolate, soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco. Finland also has an outright ban on e-cigarettes, a ban on happy hours and heavy restrictions on advertising.
The UK has the highest rates of tax on wine and cigarettes in the EU. Its beer duty is second only to Finland and its smoking ban is more draconian than any other member state. In total, it ranks first for tobacco, fourth for alcohol and seventh for food and soft drinks. Britain takes a more liberal approach to e-cigarettes, however, giving it a final ranking of third.
No link between regulation and longer life expectancy was found.
Countries with heavy regulation of alcohol do not have lower rates of drinking, and countries with heavy regulation of tobacco do not have lower rates of smoking.
Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “The results make depressing reading for those of us who want the government to keep out of our private lives. Unless you are a teetotal, non-smoking vegetarian, my advice is to go to Germany or the Czech Republic this summer.
“The obvious conclusion is that nanny state regulation does not work.”
The scoring for each country, in this first analysis of its kind by the IEA, was based on 32 different factors from taxes to advertising restrictions and from happy hour bans to restrictions on price promotions. The analysis was carried out on January 1.