Tax plan for sugary and salty snacks -but Boris Johnson’s food tsar rules out red meat levy
- Restaurateur Henry Dimbleby will put forward National Food Strategy proposals
- Review is expected to include plans to expand the current sugar tax on drinks
- Mr Dimbleby is also expected to recommend an expansion of free school meals and is likely to criticise the UK’s recent trade deal with Australia
A ‘snack tax’ on sugary and salty foods will this week be recommended by Boris Johnson’s food tsar.
Restaurateur Henry Dimbleby will put forward the proposals as part of a National Food Strategy aimed at improving the nation’s health, according to sources.
The Government-commissioned review is expected to include proposals to expand the current sugar tax on sweet drinks and bring in a new salt tax on high-sodium foods.
Mr Dimbleby is also expected to recommend an expansion of free school meals and is likely to criticise the UK’s recent trade deal with Australia, putting him on a collision course with ministers.
The Government-commissioned review is expected to include proposals to expand the current sugar tax on sweet drinks and bring in a new salt tax on high-sodium foods
However, the plan does not include suggestions for a tax on red meat, which the Prime Minister has ruled out.
Mr Dimbleby, the millionaire founder of fast-food chain Leon, will make his recommendations in an independent report issued tomorrow.
Ministers plan to respond in a White Paper in six months but sources cautioned that none of the recommendations were ‘set in stone’.
The ‘snack tax’ is intended to encourage manufacturers to slash the amount of sugar and salt in their products and could apply to foods such as sausages, bacon, burgers and crisps.
Fizzy drinks have been subject to a sugar tax of 18p per litre since 2018 but Mr Dimbleby is expected to call for this to go further. There is no tax on salty foods at present. Sources suggested that reports last month that the levy could be as high as 6 per cent were incorrect.
The review is expected to suggest a drop in the amount of red meat consumed as part of a healthy diet but will not recommend a tax on it.
The ‘snack tax’ is intended to encourage manufacturers to slash the amount of sugar and salt in their products and could apply to foods such as sausages, bacon, burgers and crisps
Last month Mr Dimbleby was reported to have warned that people may have to pay a meat levy to help save the planet, even though it could cause riots.
He is said to have argued that a levy on burgers, steaks, ham and sausages ‘may be necessary’ in the long term.
But he ruled against an immediate introduction because of the uproar it would create in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Mr Johnson has unveiled plans to slash greenhouse emissions by nearly four-fifths in a decade, which would require cutting meat and dairy consumption by a fifth.
Average meat consumption stands at 70g a day, according to the NHS, so reducing this by a fifth would equal 56g, equivalent to the weight of a chicken breast. Mr Dimbleby is also likely to renew his call for an expansion of free school meals to all under-16s with parents on universal credit.
This would cause trouble for the Government, which is under pressure to save money because of the pandemic.
Last year Mr Dimbleby wrote: ‘A government that is serious about ‘levelling up’ must ensure that all children get the nutrition they need.’
He is also expected to be critical of the trade deal with Australia signed last month after calling on ministers to protect environmental and animal welfare standards.
Other suggestions in the report include backing local producers, sustainable farming and woodland creation.
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