This is a proposal from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration. They have suggested a new tax on self service checkout use in order to fund their ideas to unite people from different generations.

Given that you’re already paying at least income tax, NICs and car tax; how do you feel about another tax on your hard earned money?

What is the purpose of the APPG on Social Integration?

The APPG on Social Integration is, according to their website homepage: “The group’s mission is to drive forward a cross-party conversation on policy solutions to break down barriers to integration and create opportunities for people from all walks of life to build bonds of trust.”

And this doesn’t just mean the integration of people from other countries.

For this particular aspect of their work, their task is to investigate the perceived gap between the UK’s different generations and find ways to bridge it. In their latest report ‘Healing the Generational Divide: Interim Report on Intergenerational Connection’ they lay out several ideas to improve relationships across the differently aged communities.

These include:

  • ‘Take Your Headphones Off Day’: an initiative to be run by transport bodies, to encourage opportunities for conversation between people from different generations.
  • New national volunteering scheme: organises retired people to volunteer in their community.
  • Connections between care homes, nurseries and schools encouraged by having such services on one site altogether.
  • Tax break for regular volunteers: this would be for a commitment of a set number of hours per month in a public service.

In his introduction to the report, Chairperson of the committee, Chuka Umunna said: “We all know that Brexit has been incredibly divisive but what we have seen over the course of this inquiry suggests that generational division extends far beyond the realm of politics, into our daily lives. This report sets out the beginnings of a framework where local, regional and national government can work together to foster stronger connections between generations. Now, more than ever, we need to act to bring our country back together and move forward as one. That’s why it’s vital we keep talking about what is happening in our society, try to understand why and find solutions that will help heal the generational divide.”

Why a self service checkout tax to fund these actions?

On the surface, it does seem a rather out of the blue idea. But the report does explain the thinking behind it very clearly: “To provide new resources for community projects which foster intergenerational connection, the APPG would like to further explore the idea of introducing a small charge on self-service checkout machines, of 1p per transaction. The thinking behind this idea is that some of the technological changes we are seeing sweep through our society may bring major efficiencies and cost savings, but that these can come at the expense of valuable everyday human contact. If this is the case, then it might make sense to see if a fraction of those cost savings can be captured to put back into initiatives that support greater social interaction, in this case greater intergenerational connection.”

How do you feel about this? Do you think that any of the initiatives are necessary and there really is a cross-generational divide? Does it warrant another new tax? It will be interesting to see if the government decide to implement the proposals in this report and the kind of reception they receive.