Private medical insurance news - Education leader calls for a fat tax
A leading education professional has said that introduction of a fat tax would have two key benefits because not only would it raise money for the economy, but it would also get people eating more healthy foods.
Mike Rayner, group director of health promotion research at the University of Oxford, says that obesity is costing the NHS billions of pounds each and more needs to be done to reduce the number of health related issues caused by poor dietary habits.
According to Mr Rayner more than 25 per cent of British adults could be classified as obese and that is putting a major drain on the nation’s finances.
He feels that a fat tax of 12p should be added to the price of soft drinks. France has implemented a similar move recently but the levy applied was only two cents.
He said: "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?
"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 or fizzy drinks."
However, Liberal Democrats MP Steve Webb said that a better move may be to get tough on manufacturers of unhealthy foods and make them produce better packaging so that people are aware of the potential health risks which could occur from eating such foods.
He added that in no way should any changes to rules around fatty foods merely be implemented as a way of raising taxes though.
"We should look at Denmark and other countries who have tried it and see what the evidence is, so we need to do it based on the evidence. But it is worth looking at, I agree,” Mr Webb said.