Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Panorama on junk food

Last night's Panaroma programme examining the case for increased taxation on junk food was extremely interesting. Some of the arguments made are certainly worthy of consideration.

I particularly liked the comparison made with tobacco. It was pointed out that taxation on tobacco has indisputably had a major impact on the reduction in the number of smokers. The question was then asked that given the current obesity epidemic we are experiencing and the high numbers of deaths related to obesity, whether it was time to consider adopting a similar approach for junk food.

Of course we must be very careful not to make life more difficult for those on low incomes and push up their weekly food bill, which is why any decision to increase taxes on junk food should not be taken lightly. One suggestion is to use increased taxes on junk food to subsidise the consumption of healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables, which could actually reduce the food bill of those on lower incomes choosing to improve their diet and opt for healthier options.

Tory Health Secretary Andrew Lansley opposes such moves, and given his outrageous decision to bring companies such as McDonalds, PepsiCo, Unilever and others to the heart of government decision-making, this is hardly surprising.


  1. In principal I am very much in favour of the taxation of fast foods particularly on giants such as McDonalds and Burger King that have been pumping the public full of chemicals and fats for far too long. My concern as you've highlighted is how it would work in practice. Also what knock-on effect would this have for small businesses struggling to come out of the recession such as Fish and Chip shops?