Nobody is old enough to remember the window tax which was first imposed in 1696! But we can still see the stupid consequences because there are a fair number of bricked up windows in Central London as a result of this tax – it was certainly not the intention of the government of the day that people stay in the dark to reduce their tax! More recently governments have realised that tax can be raised under the camouflage of changing behaviour (duty on drink and tobacco), protecting the environment (Climate Change, Aggregates and Landfill levies) and jumping on populist bandwagons (Bank Payroll Tax).
It just shows those governments like ideas and whenever they think they have a good idea to raise a bit of tax they rush to implement it, especially if it ticks a particular political box. The result is that we have a total jungle of taxes; in fact at the last count there are twenty-six different taxes applicable in the UK (more if you start counting things like congestion charges, road tolls and parking fees) needing the world’s largest body of tax legislation to control them.