160 Views

‘Fat tax’ proposed to target obesity epidemic

A ‘fat tax’ has been proposed by Mike Rayner, director of the health promotion research group at the University of Oxford, in response to the obesity epidemic affecting the country.

At least a quarter of adults in the United Kingdom are obese, costing the National Health Service billions of pounds each year, and it is thought that taxes on high-fat and energy-dense foods could help to ease the problem.

Proponent of the policy initiative, Mike Rayner, said that: “We’re in the grip of an obesity crisis. As a nation we’re consuming too many calories and eating too much cheap, energy-dense food, like crisps, chocolate bars of fizzy drinks. There’s evidence to show that manipulating food prices can encourage healthy eating. So why are we so reluctant to change the way we tax food?”

Some countries in the European Union already enforce ‘fat taxes’ on particular foods and drinks, such as a two cents tax on fizzy drinks in France, and tax in Denmark on foods such as butter, milk and pizza that contain more than 2.3 percent saturated fat.

Denmark’s saturated fat ban follows their success as the first nation in the world to ban trans-fats.

Rayner has called for a 12 pence tax on soft drinks, claiming that healthier drinks would prevent thousands of deaths every year. Scientists have argued that saturated fats should not be the only target, instead also taxing salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates.

The current system taxes some foods that are relatively-healthy, such as fruit juices and smoothies, whilst it does not tax microwave meals (that are often high in salt and saturated fats), many bread products or cakes and other sweet treats.

Mike Rayner argues, “We need to rethink the way we apply VAT to food. I’d like us to tax all unhealthy foods from butter to biscuits.”

However, Liberal Democrat minister, Steve Webb MP, was more cautious about implementing a tax, asserting that it definitely should not be used as a “tax-raising measure.”

He instead called upon manufacturers to put less junk into the food, and to “look at Denmark and other countries who have tried it and see what the evidence is.”

Angela Eagle, Labour MP and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons instead called for better food labelling and education, arguing that a fat tax would be too difficult to implement.

She said, “My instinct is that VAT or tax may have a role to play, but education, assistance, and regulation of some of the salt content in food is all equally important.”

At the Conservative Party Conference in 2011, David Cameron also stated that drastic action was needed in order to prevent life expectancy from falling and health costs spiralling.

Cameron argued that a ‘fat tax’ was something that should be looked into, but acknowledged that “the problem in the past when people have looked at using the tax system in this way is the impact it can have on people on low incomes. But frankly, do we have a problem with the growing level of obesity? Yes. Do we have a kind of warning in terms of, look at America how bad things have got there, about what happens if we don’t do anything? Yes. That should be a wake-up call.”

Cameron argued that obesity has become the “biggest health challenge” facing the country, and said,  “We need to look at the evidence and look at the impact on families.”

Organisations representing nearly every doctor in the UK have criticised sponsorship of the upcoming Olympic Games by fast food companies, saying that this sends out “the wrong message.”

Campaigners have said they will target companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds, who are sponsoring the Games, and companies that have outlets close to schools.

However, a McDonald’s spokesperson said, “Sponsorship is essential to the successful staging of the Olympics.” Current predictions suggest that over half of children will be obese or overweight by 2020.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
929 views1
Campus News
929 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
255 views
Arts
255 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
268 views
Arts
268 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
253 views
Arts
253 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
309 views
Arts
309 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
319 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
288 views
Arts
288 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
271 views
Arts
271 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
409 views
Campus News
409 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
219 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
689 views
Arts
689 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
281 views
Arts
281 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
370 views
Artist Focus
370 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
285 views
Interview
285 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
351 views
Arts
351 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
406 views
Arts
406 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
427 views
Arts
427 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
334 views
Artist Focus
334 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
367 views
Books
367 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
464 views
Science
464 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
390 views
News
390 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…