Backbenchers bite back over fat tax

Julian Harris
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DAVID Cameron could face stern opposition from backbench MPs if the government attempts to launch a “fat tax” on foods that are high in fat.

The Prime Minister has said that the government “should look at” following in the footsteps of Danish authorities, who recently imposed a tax on foods with more the 2.3 per cent saturated fat.

Labour’s new shadow health secretary Andy Burnham yesterday opposed a move towards a levy on fatty foods, which could include milk and oils.

And some Conservative MPs are unhappy that the coalition is set to weigh up the possibility of introducing the tax.

“Of course I want people to eat healthily, but this is a matter of individual choice,” commented Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe.

“The state has become so involved with our lives that we are in danger of losing what it is to be a free society,” Baker told City A.M.

Douglas Carswell, Conservative MP for Clacton, added: “You can’t on one hand talk about liberalising and supply side reform, and on the other hand hammer the food industry.

“If you try to use taxes to engineer society, you just get unintended consequences. We need a flat tax, not a fat tax.”

A fat tax, which was also introduced in Hungary earlier in the year, received surprising criticism from Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum. “If you tax junk food, you are taxing the people least able to buy any food,” Fry said.

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