A response the the Health Committee's call for a sugary drinks tax

Commenting on the publication of the Health Committee’s report into childhood obesity and calls for the imposition of a sugary drinks tax, Christopher Snowdon, Director of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Taxing soft drinks is an assault on the poor that has never been shown to reduce obesity anywhere in the world. It merely pushes up the cost of living and encourages people to buy budget brands from cheaper shops. This is exactly what happened when Denmark introduced its disastrous fat tax.

“There is a large economic literature showing the negative consequences of introducing sin taxes and banning advertising. Unfortunately, the Health Committee has decided to pay more attention to Jamie Oliver than to the evidence.

“Despite sugar consumption falling for thirty years, it is currently fashionable to blame this single ingredient for obesity and it is no surprise to see Sarah Wollaston’s committee support tobacco-style regulation. The Health Select Committee allowed Action on Sugar and their supporters an opportunity to express their extreme views. Now that they have got it out of their system, we trust the government will take a more balanced and rational approach when it produces its obesity strategy.”

Notes to editors:

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