Jamie Oliver urges MPs to tax chocolate and cakes

Chef Jamie Oliver
03/05/2018 - 10:02
Chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have urged MPs to introduce taxes on chocolate and cakes, while giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee at Westminster this week.

Addressing the UK’s growing obesity problem - which accounts for one in five early deaths - Oliver claimed that obesity should to be seen as a national security threat, explaining: “When you look at mortality (obesity-related cancers and heart disease deaths outnumbering those caused by crime or terrorism) then I would say this is a national security issue without question.

“Every single minister and every single government department has to play a role (in fighting obesity).”

The duo praised the “fantastic” sugar tax for encouraging companies to reduce the sugar in their soft drinks – demonstrating by holding up the number of sachets in Ribena drinks before and after the tax.

By contrast, Fearnley-Whittingstall then held up two milk-based drinks, which contained 9 and 10 teaspoons of sugar respectively, saying that the levy should be extended to milkshakes because this “is a tax for good, a tax for love.”

They also highlighted the negative impact of buy-one-get-one-free deals, claiming they “they make (consumer) buy more, eat more, waste more.”

Calling on the government to restrict such deals, Oliver told the committee that “food companies should only be allowed to offer “buy one get one free” deals on junk food if they did an equal number of promotions on fruit and vegetables.

“So even if there was legislation that says for every deal you do on junk food, there's one for fresh food - that would be fair.”

He concluded: "I believe in the British people - that when you give them good clear information, they largely make brilliant choices.

"What happens is that we keep talking about the concept of choice when we largely haven't got choice” – especially those who live in “poor areas that sell only unhealthy products and have no choice over what they can eat.”

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