In a time when we all need to tighten our belts, it seems the government is planning to definitely bring forward a plan to tax us on the fatty life style. So what does this mean? Well if we are to follow the route of our European neighbours we can all look forward to even less money in our pockets. Will it actually stop people from buying fatty and junk food? Probably not. Will it raise the chancellors trove? Certainly! If we’re talking about a few pence per portion, are we really going to miss those couple of pence?
We’ve had the carrier bag charge for a while here in Wales and sure, there’s been a decrease in usage, but we still use them! At the end of the day we don’t mind paying 5p for another one. The bill to the environment was estimated at 31 million and is hoped will recoup around 5 million by applying this charge. That’s about one sixth, so why didn’t they put the charge at 30p per bag and not 5p ? Was it a serious attack on all us terrible bag throwers? For sure we would think twice about using a bag twice if it were more expensive to buy a new one. So the same ‘charge’ is thrown at the fat tax; if they really had a serious concern for our welfare then why not ban fast food outlets, sell healthy food only. We obviously all need to eat and a penny or two charge is not going to be paid by the restaurants or take aways, it will be passed on to us. If McDonald’s is the only place that sells food in a town where there’s nothing else around, we’ll eat there, guaranteed, regardless of what content or the price!
In a strange comparison, in the mass advertising campaign for anti smoking, the pictures on the fag packets, the reduction of advertising on billboards and public places, maybe a pointer to how raising prices and charges simply does not work. It simply makes the poor poorer yet again. There has hardly been much of a dramatic slow down in the number of people who smoke over the last few years after all that campaigning, but of course, still been steady tax rises. This can really be an indicator to where the fat tax is actually heading. Will all proceeds from the Chinese takeaway really be thrown towards the NHS to help thin it’s own expanding waist line? And if by some miracle it does have an effect on putting us off fatty foods, then where next? With no money coming in – as everyone will be eating healthy, what do they tax next? Exercise machines, joggers, cyclists ? Surely they’ll think of yet another worth while cause we all have to contribute to. Maybe a smiling tax! It will be very interesting to see where this extra money is actually allocated. Looking into the future, if there’s less fat people to serve, and lets face it, that’s what we’re talking about, like some alienated zombies from another planet, there will be less required on NHS treatment, but then less tax collected. The cost of obesity for the NHS, employers and related services is only a tiny fraction of the cost of alcohol related incidents, illness and associated crime, but that still seems to go relatively unpunished – yet again no rise in the budget. Of course this doesn’t affect just fat people, it will make all of us a victim of another tax. Cigarette smokers pay their tax, carrier bag users pay there’s, but we’re all going to be paying a fat tax, even the thinnest and healthiest of us. Now that doesn’t seem right.
It is without doubt that some fatty food is in fact good with us and although a burger and chips is considered unhealthy, there are a proportion of good nutrients in all kinds of meals. So will the fat tax really help contribute to the cost of the snorter porker to the NHS? Doubt It! It will probably have to be reallocated to people who will become homeless, malnourished and anorexic due to their lack of affordability to eat. Another winner!