‘Tax on fatty foods will not boost health’

Link: IMF report recommends VAT on food

As debate about the nation’s diet appears to reach a crescendo, finance directors have overwhelmingly rejected the notion that healthy eating could be promoted through tax policy. The latest Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Big Question survey found 77% of FDs believe that a tax on fatty foods would not improve the health of the nation. Their emphatic conclusion follows news that the Irish health minister Michael Martin is considering a tax on high-fat foods because of the country’s burgeoning waistline. While UK FDs wholeheartedly turned on the idea, a few saw some merit in using tax policy to help improve health. Lee Blunden, FD at Britannia Parking, said: ‘Far better to introduce tax incentives to encourage a greater uptake in active pursuits.’ But most FDs ridiculed the idea of a tax helping us eat better. ‘For years VAT has been applied to cakes but not biscuits or staple food in an attempt to tax luxury goods and, in part, to encourage healthier eating. This has not made any discernible difference to the consumption of cakes,’ said Gwyn Bouch, FD at Systems Labelling.

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