I saw a great programme the other day, a short Panorama report talking about hiking the price of junk food by adding a tax on top. Let’s face it. We’ve taxed most things, so what’s left?
I know, let’s tax the food that makes us fat.
Now it’s true we have a major problem in this country. Obesity’s rising faster than Jeremy Clarkson’s blood pressure, and it’s so bad now that 13-15% (at last check) of kids from 8-15 are actually obese too.
Kids for crying out loud!
I have no problem with the idea of hiking up the price of junk food, but there is one thing I do find hard to swallow. You see, it’s all very well “protecting the kids”, or whatever other reason the politicians use to spin the whole thing to get us on their side, but there’s a flip side… And that’s the cost of healthy food.
They can try to price people out of the high sugar, high fat stuff, or even just bump the price up to provide a bit of negative persuasion, but if it’s under the pretence that we’re trying to help the nation stay healthy, then that tax needs to be put back into taking the price of healthier foods down, and at this stage, that’s not part of the plan.
One of the biggest arguments that was repeatedly harped on was that of smoking. I must have heard at least four times in one half-hour programme how as tax rose on cigarettes, smoking levels came down, therefore, the same thing will “obviously” happen with food.
Except there’s a big of a difference between cigarettes and food. We don’t need cigarettes to live!
True, we don’t need junk food to live either, but we do need food, so that’s where the balance needs to be struck.
So me, I’m all in favour of sticking a tax on junk food, I’m in favour of most things that get people to think twice about making bad diet choices… but only when it’s balanced out by making healthy foods cheaper. Until then, it’s just a thinly veiled way to get more money out of us using rising obesity as an excuse.
Oh and comedy moment… In the US apparently they’re currently lobbying to slap a tax on fizzy drinks, which to nobody’s surprise, Coca-cola aren’t exactly clamouring to get behind. To represent the company they had on the “Cheif Scientific Officer”, whatever the hell that is at a fizzy drinks company, who did her best to liken the black fizzy stuff to “Wholesome food”.
Nice try, love.
So what do we think about a “Fat tax”? In favour, or makes about as much sense as a gibbering, drunken chimpanzee? Tell me below…