A Conservative MP has branded Jamie Oliver’s campaign for the introduction of a sugar tax on fizzy drinks and sweet foods “patronising nonsense”.
The comments come as the Mail on Sunday reports the Conservative-led health committee is expected to endorse Oliver’s recommendations in a report which will be released on Monday, despite David Cameron ruling out the introduction of the tax last month.
Andrew Percy, the Tory MP for Brigg and Goole who sits on the health committee told the paper Oliver’s suggestion is “patronising nonsense”.
“This is a classic nanny state reaction and it won’t work.
“Slapping 10p or 20p on a can of sugary drink won’t make people change their behaviour.”
In September Oliver appeared before the health select committee to give evidence in favour of a sugar tax. Calling on the Prime Minister to show big businesses “who is boss”, Oliver said the government had done an “incredible disservice” to children by failing to crack down on obesity.
In a parliamentary petition, which has so far amassed over 150,000 signatures, Oliver called for a tax of 7p per regular-sized fizzy drink can. The tax would be put into the NHS and schools to combat childhood obesity.
The 40-year-old television chef has long been a campaigner for tackling the childhood obesity crisis. He famously investigated the contents of the school canteen’s staple of ‘turkey twizzlers’ which was the catalyst for fundamental change in school dinners across the UK.
A spokesperson for Oliver had no comment on Mr Percy’s remarks but said: “The health select committee report should be the final nail in the coffin for anyone who still believes that we don’t urgently need to adopt all of its excellent recommendations to successfully tackle childhood obesity in the UK.”
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