Sugary foods may be taxed to cover the costs of treating obesity, a government minister has said.
George Freeman, the life sciences minister, said yesterday that food companies should know that if they produce food that could lead to poor lifestyles and ill health, they may face penalties. In doing so, Freeman contradicted health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who ruled out a sugar tax last year.
Any move would likely be met with an outcry from UK and global food and drink companies.
According to the Telegraph, Freeman said at the Hay Festival yesterday that sugary drinks and snacks were causing Britain’s obesity epidemic.
“I don’t think heavy-handed legislation is the way to go,” he said. “But I think that where there is a commercial product which confers costs on all of us as a society... then we could be looking at recouping some of that through taxation.”