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Tax on Unhealthy Foods

Comment 2nd July 2010

There is an obesity epidemic sweeping the U.K. part of the reason for this lies in our unhealthy diet. Where food is known to be unhealthy VAT could be applied to deter its consumption. The main target for this tax would be the producers and importers of sugar, saturated fats and sodium. This tax would then be past on to the consumers and embodied in a wide range of unhealthy foods. Typical of the foods affected would be sugar, potato crisps, and soft drinks.

Why does this matter?

The obesity epidemic is giving rise to an increase in heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating illnesses. The affect of this is borne not only be the sufferers, but by industry in lost working days and the tax payer in high NHS costs. The tax collected from these foods could be used directly in the NHS to defray some of the costs associated with the treatment of these diseases. Just as tobacco and alcohol is taxed to deter its consumption, so should unhealthy foods be taxed. The nutritional information carried on food packaging is important, but unfortunatey read be very few and its health implications understood by far less.

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