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Health expert recommends fat tax on unhealthy foods

The director of the health promotion research group at the University of Oxford has recommended the introduction of a tax on unhealthy foods to help reduce the number of overweight and obese people in the UK.
Mike Rayner has proposed a tax on a range of less healthy foodstuffs, including a 12p tax on soft drinks to get people to switch to a healthier alternative, as so many people in Britain are obese – which he claims is costing the NHS billions of pounds each year. He argued that since tax increases were already used to deter people from smoking and drinking, a fat tax would improve our health and help raise money for the Treasury.
Rayner commented “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?
He added “We need to rethink the way we apply VAT to food. At the moment we have a muddled system: you do pay tax on some relatively-healthy things like smoothies, but you don’t pay it on a lot of junk food like chips or doughnuts.” He also pointed out that Denmark already has a “fat tax” on foodstuffs that contain saturated fats, which are known to raise cholesterol levels.
However, the idea was been countered by Labour MP Angela Eagle and the Liberal Democrat minister Steve Webb, who would instead prefer improved nutritional education and better packaging.

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