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Byline: ANNA DAY

IT SHOULD be the only incentive Mr Blair needs. The high earners of tomorrow will be happy to pay more taxes if health, the environment and social services can be sorted out.

A competition run by the Chartered Institute of Taxation found that the top concerns of A-level students are distinctly old school - education, the NHS and pollution were top of the list.

And let's not forget these students are the politicians of the future. It is they who will be running the country in 20 years' time.

They also think the Prime Minister should be doing more to help the poor. Some suggested introducing tax incentives for blood and body part donors to help overcome the shortage of vital organs.

Another idea was to cut down on obesity by putting a tax on fats and sugars in manufactured food. This could be a solution to a problem the government is struggling to solve.

Its latest plan is to ask people to see an obesity specialist if they are overweight but the teenagers' plan is prevention rather than cure.

Suggestions to protect the environment include a tax on plastic bags as they have in Ireland.

Teenagers would also tax households that produce more than three bags of non-recyclable rubbish a week. The tax reforms would pay for a huge injection into public services, roads and social services.

Tory MP Quentin Davies says: "I am delighted young people today have an interest in the way they live and the environment they live in - and also have thought long and hard about the way the government could respond to these concerns with a positive tax regime."

Teenagers believe the reforms would be unpopular at first but that people would be won over when they saw the improvements.

We asked three teenagers what they would do if they won power.

WHAT would you do to make Britain a better place? Drop us a line and we'll print your most interesting ideas. Write to: A Better Britain, Mirror Money, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP.


WILLIAM Hanmer-Lloyd, 17, from Poole, Dorset, is an A-level student. He says: "I would put a lot more money into the NHS. The government is putting cash into the system but in the wrong places.

"I would get rid of the bureaucracy and plough the money into patient care. That's what's important.

"I think that would mean people didn't resent paying more tax, as long as there was a tangible result at the end of it.

"I would also charge people who were on their own in cars to gain more revenue to put into public services.

"It's a tax that doesn't hit the poor, as the very poorest in the country don't have cars. It's a tax on the middle classes."


SCOTT Thompson, 17, is an A-level pupil from Corfe Mullen, Dorset. He is studying politics and says: "I would tax people who drive to work or round town on their own. It's so easy for people to double up. There's no reason for hundreds of single drivers.

"This would apply to all major cities but there would be special exemptions for anybody who is disabled. The charge would be about pounds 100-pounds 200 a year. If you didn't pay, you would face a fine and you'd still have to fork out for the tax.

"The money would go back into public transport, which desperately needs a boost in funds. I think the congestion charge in London is a good idea but it doesn't go far enough."

LEAH, 16

LEAH Jackson, 16, is an AS-level student from South Woodham Ferrers, Essex. She says: "I don't think Tony Blair is tough enough on firms who pollute the country.

"It would make economic sense to tax companies on every unit of pollution they produce. It would be an incentive for companies to reduce their emissions. If they don't, you could name and shame them. The money could be put into health care. I think it's disgraceful that the NHS will pay for any care while you are in hospital but the patient has to fork out for after-care treatment.

"It seems that people pay tax all their lives without really seeing the benefits. If you work hard and pay a high amount of tax, you should expect to reap the benefits. People are not seeing their money ploughed back into the system.

"I'm trying to decide what course to take at university. I'm interested in politics but would really love to take law. But given how much the course costs compared to an economics degree, it may just be too expensive.

"It doesn't seem fair that I can't follow my dreams now, despite the huge amounts of tax my parents have paid."


GREEN: Leah Jackson wants Blair to be much tougher on polluters Pictures: KENT GAVIN and HARRY PAGE
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 11, 2003
Previous Article:MONEY ADVICE.
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