A tax on fatty foods in the UK?

June 11, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

A tax on fatty foods in the UK?

Hamburgers, soft drinks and cakes could be hit with a "fat-tax" in a bid to combat Britain's growing levels of obesity.

The British Medical Association is proposing a 17.5% value added tax (VAT) on high-fat foods like biscuits and processed meats to solve obesity related problems, which cost the government roughly $825 million U.S. per year.

According to government statistics, one in five men and one in four women is obese. Obesity is a serious risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, muscle and respiratory problems and certain types of cancer.

A levy on fatty foods would be widely perceived as a regressive tax because people on lower incomes ten to eat proportionally larger quantities of cheap, high-fat food.

But experts said the tax would hit food manufacturers hard and have little effect on the poor. A fat-tax will remove food manufacturers' incentive to pump food full of fat. Instead they will fill processed foods with healthier ingredients and better selections of meat, they say.

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