Boris Johnson rules out sugar taxes as part of his post-coronavirus battle against obesity
BORIS Johnson has ruled out sugar taxes as part of his post-coronavirus battle against obesity, The Sun can reveal.
He sparked fears of new levies on sugary food and drink last month after admitting he had ditched his “libertarian” views on nanny state interventions on “sin taxes”.
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The PM has been trying to lose weight after his coronavirus battle and he wants to encourage Brits to do so too[/caption]
The PM said his own brush with death during the coronavirus crisis had convinced him that urgent action was needed to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.
He has ordered health officials to draw up a fresh action plan but has made it very clear that sugar taxes must not be part of the solution.
Boris told aides that “people shouldn’t be bullied”.
And a source close to the PM told The Sun “We’re mindful that food bills are already high enough for people on low incomes without us slapping extra bills on top of them.”
The move is a victory for The Sun’s Hands Off Our Grub campaign to prevent nanny state interventions hiking food prices for hard-pressed families.
Boris is said to have been persuaded by medical and nutritional advisers that tackling obesity is 80 per cent diet and 20 per cent exercise.
That has persuaded him that action on diets is more important than encouraging exercise, which marks a major shift since last year when he said during the Tory leadership contest that fighting obesity is about “calories in, and calories out”.
But instead of punitive measures such as the sugar tax, the PM is said to be in favour of changing people’s diets through public health campaigns and a crackdown on supermarket promotions of unhealthy food.
Shops will be prevented from offering deals such as buy one, get one free on healthy food.
And there is also likely to be a ban on products such as sweets, crisps and chocolates being on sale at supermarket checkouts, which customers tend to by on the whim.
In a sign of the shift in Tory thinking, Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell, who is also a Tory activist, called on the Government to show a greater focus on healthy diets over exercise.
He wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Exercise – as much as I love it – is not the silver bullet.
“We need help eating a healthy diet and we need effective support for those currently living with obesity.
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“This requires the Government to do much more than it has over the past few decades.”
But despite ruling out further levies, the existing sugar tax, which hits fizzy drinks that have more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, will remain in place.
The levy has seen the cost of drinks such as Coca Cola rise by as much as 10 per cent.
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