VAT should be cut on healthy food instead of punishing consumers with 'sugar tax', campaigners say

Almost two-thirds of British households, said they find healthy food  and drinks more expensive when compared to other products

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The Independent Online

A new campaign has called on the Government to cut VAT on healthy food instead of punishing consumers with a "sugar tax" saying price is a barrier to a balanced diet.

Policy makers seem wedded to looking at the problem of excessive sugar consumption from the wrong angle, according to #DontTaxHealthy.

The campaign group claims reducing the VAT to 5 per cent — from the standard 20 per cent on all lower sugar food and drinks — will decrease the cost of obesity to the economy. According to Publlic Health England the NHS sepnt £5.1bn on treating people suffering from obesity last year. .

Nearly 70 per cent, or two-thirds of British households, said they find healthy food  and drinks more expensive when compared to other products, according to a YouGov survey released on Thursday.

The same survey found that a staggering staggering 40 per cent of 18 to 34 years olds said they can’t afford to purchase healthy products because of their price.

#DontTaxHealthy was launched by the founders of OPPO, a UK-based healthy ice cream company, and Sugarwise, and organisation that certifies lower sugar food and drink.

Osborne defends sugar tax

 

Charlie and Harry Thuillier, #DontTaxHealthy campaign founders and OPPO ice cream owners, said bringing  hundreds of lower sugar products into price parity will help scrap the price barrier faced by so many customers

Rend Plating, #DontTaxHealthy campaign co-Founder and chief executive of Sugarwise, said the healthy low-sugar option have only been an option for the “privileged few” for too long. 

Tam Fry, a spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum, said : “Both the food & and drink industry and the UK government have a responsibility to encourage, rather than deter, healthier choices. 

“The research released by #DontTaxHealthy clearly shows that shoppers in the UK find healthy food and drink more expensive. Price acts as a barrier to healthier purchases. We need to remove this.”

 

The group’s petition, launched on Thursday morning, has so father gathered over 3,000 signatures.

Former chancellor George Osborne announced a sugar tax on the soft drinks industry as part of the 2016 Budget with the goal to raise an estimated £520 million a year. He has pledged to spend the money on funding for sport in primary schools.

The Government has asked food manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of their products by 5 per cent by the end of this year.

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