A sweet, sweet victory indeed.
Celebrity chef and food nanny Jamie Oliver had called for a tax on sugary food, launching an online petition that received more than 100,000 signatures in its first two days. Nevertheless, the British government isn’t interested.
“The government has no plans to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages,” said a statement made by the UK Department of Health. “The government has committed to a tax lock to avoid raising the cost of living and to promote UK productivity and economic growth, however, the Government keeps all taxes under review with decisions being a matter for the Chancellor as part of the Budget process.”
Ian Wright, director general of industry trade group Food and Drink Federation (FDF), was pleased about the decision. “Jamie Oliver and his followers have an important contribution to make but the focus on a sugar tax would have hit low-income families without improving the nations’ health.”
Back in January, Oliver shared his thoughts about taxing sugar with the media.
He told the Daily Mail: “Sugar’s definitely the next evil. It’s the next tobacco, without doubt, and that industry should be scared. And it should be taxed, just like tobacco and anything else that can, frankly, destroy lives.”
He also said: “I’m not passionate about taxing, but when you look at the pot of cash that isn’t getting any bigger, and if you think that 68 per cent of every case that goes through the NHS is diet-related, then yes, you need radical change.”
Oliver went on to tell the Daily Mail how he recently had to make his own lifestyle changes: “It’s not as if I felt bad at the time. Or I didn’t think I felt bad, but with hindsight I didn’t look great. I didn’t feel … alive. I was functioning, don’t get me wrong, but looking back there was this feeling that I had to rev up to do it. I was exhausted all the time – and no wonder. When I wasn’t at work I could fall asleep at a minute’s notice – not that I got the chance with the kids. At the weekend they want to play.”
And Oliver took matters into his own hands by charging extra for sugary drinks at his own restaurants.
Here is the obligatory photo of Jamie Oliver with his chocolate panettone bread and butter pudding from his Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food book.
Instead of the sugar tax, the British government is looking at a “range of measures” to help combat childhood obesity and will announce those measures at the end of the month.