Newspapers today report that Denmark is to impose the world’s 1st ‘fat tax’ in a bid to slim its population and cut heart disease. This move might increase pressure for a similar tax to be introduced to the UK (where there are the highest obesity figures in Europe).
The taxes start this Saturday. This will mean that the Danes will pay an extra 30p on each packet of butter; an extra 13p on 1/2 kg minced meat; and 8p on a packet of crisps…and bacon is also in the spotlight.
It is expected that the revenue raised will help with educational programmes on healthy eating and also cut consumption of saturated fats by about 10%.
To date, Andrew Lansley, our Health Minister, has resisted calls for taxes on unhealthy foods but, Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group (who has campaigned for such taxes) says they are the only credible way to combat Britain’s obesity problem.
There is no doubt we need to take some action but is a ‘fat tax’ the answer?