Junk food tax still on the table?

UK government childhood obesity plan doesn’t go far enough – Food Standards Scotland

FISCAL measures that could include tax or charges on food seen as  causing obesity are listed as one possibility by Scotland’s food watchdog, which has said the Westminster government’s plan to reduce childhood obesity “does not go far enough”.

FSS chair Ross Finnie calls for “a more comprehensive approach”.

The new Food Standards Scotland agency launched its first five-year strategy last month, which has one of its main aims as tackling poor diet, one of the most significant causes of ill-health in Scotland.

Among measures outlined to improve public health, the report says FSS will explore “regulated, legislative or fiscal measures that may be appropriate, particularly where previous or existing voluntary arrangements have been unsuccessful”.

It says it will “review the extent to which dietary improvement can be achieved through voluntary mechanisms and, if necessary, develop recommendations for fiscal or regulatory measures where effective industry-led solutions cannot be established.”

FSS’s report, Shaping Scotland’s Food Future, was followed by the publication of the UK Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy for England, which faced criticism for including no measures on the advertising and marketing of allegedly unhealthy foods to children.

FSS chair Ross Finnie said: “Any proposals to move towards improved diets and better health are to be welcomed, but today’s announcement by the UK Government simply does not go far enough.

“We expect industry to engage with us on our more comprehensive approach rather than just the more narrowly drawn plan of  the UK Government.”