Is a ‘Fat Tax’ on the way?

The Food Standards Agency are debating the introduction of a tax on junk food in the UK in a bid to combat the obesity crisis...

If you had to pay 17.5% extra every time you bought cheese, butter or other high-fat foods, would it put you off buying them? Because this could be the future if the Food Standards Agency has its way.

In a move similar to that introduced in Malaysia on it’s previously lucrative sugar cane industry they want to introduce a ‘Fat Tax‘ on unhealthy junk food in the UK, and are currently in talks to see whether they can make this happen.

The money raised would then be pumped back into anti-obesity campaigns, including teaching kids better dieting habits at school; running TV adverts to raise parent’s awareness about the dangers of fatty foods; and even possibly paying for some weight loss surgery on the NHS.

In much the same way as tax is applied to alcohol and tobacco the most processed foods are likely to be targeted. The FSA fears that the nations excessive consumption of saturated fat is leading to increased numbers of deaths through clogged arteries and heart disease.

Some research has claimed a fat tax could save up to 3,000 lives per year. Last year the British Medical Association only narrowly voted against putting a fat tax on chocolate.

However, the scheme has met with opposition from consumer groups. Julian Hunt, of the Food and Drink Federation told the Daily Mail: ‘It may be a perfectly sensible issue to debate but such a regressive policy would nothing more than create lighter wallets for consumers.’

In addition, research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that any fat tax would have a negative affect on poorer families and have a greater impact on their food budget than on richer families.

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