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Liberals propose British chewing gum tax

UPI News Service, 02/22/2005 

Liberal politicians are proposing a penny-a-pack tax on chewing gum to pay for the $285 million needed annually to remove gum from England's streets.

Aside from the tax that's to be discussed in a so-called national gum summit, liberal Democrats called for anti-litter messages on gum packs and development of biodegradable gum, the BBC reported Tuesday.

An American-based gum maker, the William Wrigley Jr. Co., said it has spent more than $9 million to develop a biodegradable gum, so far without success.

A spokeswoman for Britain's Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Association said a campaign would be launched this year "to persuade people to dispose of their gum responsibly."

However, the British association opposes the penny-a-pack tax to defray gum-removal costs that reach nearly $4 million annually in London's train system alone.

The nationwide annual cleanup cost of $285 million compares with gum sales of $490 million, the BBC reported.

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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