BARMY plans for sugar and salt taxes were in tatters today as Boris Johnson appeared to kill the proposals stone dead.
Hours after the Government’s healthy eating tsar recommended hiking the price of high cal snacks, the PM swiftly slapped him down.
Boris Johnson appeared to kill the proposals stone dead today[/caption]
Henry Dimbleby yesterday unveiled plans for the £6-a-kilo tax on salty treats and a £3-a-kilo sugary food levy.
The plan would send prices rocketing while critics say the number of calories saved per person would be equal to half a digestive biscuit.
Distancing himself from the proposals, Mr Johnson said at a speech in the West Midlands: “I’m not I must say attracted to the idea of extra taxes on hardworking people.
“Let me just signal that. But I will study his report, with interest.”
Earlier his Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick also appeared horrified by the tax-hiking plans.
He told LBC: “I think you have to be very cautious before putting burdens on members of the public, particularly those on lower incomes. That’s my long standing view.”
In a tweet Mr Dimbleby replied it was “great” the PM was going to read the report and stressed tackling obesity required “bold solutions”.
He added: “Of course Government can’t make up its mind on these things on the spot, no matter how much people try to bump them into that.”
It would send the cost of every day foods like crisps, crumpets, jam and sweets soaring.
The nanny-state scheme would cost shoppers £4.8billion a year, says the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
Mr Dimbleby, the multimillionaire founder of the Leon fast food chain, unveiled his 288-page report demanding a total change in what we eat in a bid to tackle obesity and climate change.
He insisted Brits must slash the amount of meat they consume by 30 per cent — and suggested families swap sausages for insects or artificial meat.
His report also called for a benefits boost so poorer families can afford to buy healthy food.
GPs should prescribe fruit and veg to obese people while free school meals should be extended to all kids in families on universal credit earning up to £20,000 a year — around 1.1 million extra children.
Mr Dimbleby said: “The way we produce food is doing terrible damage to the environment and to our bodies, and putting an intolerable strain on the NHS.
“We must now seize the moment to build a better food system for our children and grandchildren.”
John O’Connell, head of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is yet another case of middle-class meddling that will hit the poorest families hardest.”
Dr Eamonn Butler, director of think tank the Adam Smith Institute, said the Prime Minister must act against increasing the cost of food while “ruining its taste”.
He added: “At a time when many Brits are already worried about inflation, the last thing they need is Henry Dimbleby pinching more of their hard-earned money.”
He warned the tax bombshell could fuel shrinkflation, with companies reducing the size of crisp packets and chocolate bars to try to escape being taxed too much.
Tory MP Dehenna Davison slammed the proposals, saying: “We shouldn’t be taxing people for ordering a pizza on a Friday night rather than having a salad.”
Government Food Tsar Henry Dimbleby unveiled plans for the £6-a-kilo tax on salty treats and a £3-a-kilo sugary food levy[/caption]
But Dr Cathrina Edwards, Nutritional Scientist at Quadram Institute Bioscience, said: “The National Food Strategy is a wake-up call and I hope that this will be a catalyst for major transformative changes that are desperately needed to protect the health of the population and our planet for generations to come.
“Creating a long-term shift in food culture will not be an easy task, but with the right support, science and innovation can come together with food producers to create the next generation of healthier and more sustainable foods that fit into modern lifestyles.”
And Prof Guy Poppy, Professor of Ecology at the University of Southampton, said: “I am so excited to see the publication of a national food strategy.
“We have needed one for so long and the Covid pandemic has just amplified many parts of the food system which need urgent attention.”
Most read in Politics
Environment Secretary George Eustice gave the independent report a luke-warm response.
He said: “I would like to thank Henry Dimbleby and his team for their work.
“This Government will carefully consider its conclusions and respond with a White Paper within six months, setting out our priorities for the food system.”
'Get kids cooking'
KIDS should learn to cook from a young age, the Government’s Food Tsar has said.
Children as young as four should be taught about different foods so they can get used to trying things out and the Food A-Level should return, Henry Dimbleby, 51, added.
He also wants funding doubled for free fruit and veg in schools to £80million.
The Leon restaurant chain founder said: “Culinary skills and knowledge have declined across every social class since convenience food became widely available. It is time to take food education seriously.”