UK 'fat tax' could save more than 3,000 lives

An article that is appearing in the August issue of Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health discusses the possible effects of instituting a tax on salty, sweet, and fatty foods including cookies, cakes, and processed meals.

Using consumption patterns provided by the National Food Survey of Great Britain, researchers at England's Oxford University are suggesting that a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 17.5 percent could have the effect of reducing consumer demand and, as a result, reducing heart attacks and strokes. Scientists claim the tax could save as many as 3,200 lives per year.

The higher tax has already been applied to certain products including potato chips, ice cream, and some sweets.

England's Food and Drink Federation opposes the tax, claiming it will hit lower income families the hardest. Others oppose the tax as well, claiming better education and accessibility to nutritional diet items will serve the same purpose.

It is estimated that approximately 25 percent of the British population qualifies as being obese.

"Tim Marsh, associate director of the National Heart Forum, has stated, "The UK is facing a crisis in diet-related illness, including obesity, caused by over-consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt."

Julian Hunt, a spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation, has stated that the research doesn't support the idea that the higher tax would change people buying habits. "It would result only in lighter wallets, not smaller waists."

A United States fat tax has been proposed on numerous occasions, so far to no avail. Yale University psychology professor Kelly D. Brownell has been an outspoken proponent of the tax. He has emphasized that raising the cost of soft drinks by only one cent would raise $1.5 billion annually. Brownell suggests using the proceeds of a fat tax to subsidize healthy foods.

You may like these other stories...

School tax breaks get House support as Democrats objectRichard Rubin of Bloomberg reported that the House of Representatives on Thursday voted to expand and simplify tax breaks for education as Republicans continue to pass...
Many senior US tax professionals believe that a streamlined audit process will be the top benefit resulting from the IRS Transfer Pricing Audit Roadmap, a new toolkit organized around a notional 24-month audit timeline,...
Tax accounting to be simplified for money-market fundsThe US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-2 on Wednesday for sweeping changes to institutional money-market funds, Emily Chasan, senior editor of...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
Aug 20
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.
Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.