A new report has called for the government to impose a punitive tax on unhealthy food, and to subsidise fruit for the poor after it found the cost of obesity, which it claims will affect half of all humans on earth by 2030, is higher for British society than terrorism, armed conflict and war combined.
According to consultancy firm McKinsey and Company, the creators of ‘Overcoming Obesity’, overweight citizens are the second most costly impact on the economy of the United Kingdom, costing some £47bn. This puts it ahead of the total cost of the Ministry of Defence, all the armed forces, and all counter terrorism operations combined for the UK.
Large portion sizes and a lack of education about healthy eating are blamed by the report for Britain’s obesity ‘epidemic’. Thankfully for the men and women of the UK, the government is here to save you from yourself.
The report claims that if the British Government were to implement all of the reports 74 recommendations, it could but obesity by a fifth, a number of people brought into ‘normal’ equivalent to the entire population of Australia. To achieve this it calls for a range of so-called ‘interventions’.
The remarkable list of ways the government, with the assistance of corporations can force weight-loss on its subjects includes redesigning cities to discourage car use, total government subsidy of compulsory lunches for all school children, banning vending machines, banning food advertising before the watershed, the government placing parents with pre-school children on a 12 week healthy eating course, ‘eliminating’ large portion sizes, introducing taxes on food and creating subsidies for others, and government funded gastric surgery for the obese.
Although the report claims introducing large government programmes and pressurising corporations to modify the behaviour of ordinary people on a massive scale is a worthwhile venture and could save the NHS £766m a year, some are concerned about the cost and loss of liberty.
A spokesman for the Tax Payers’ Alliance said: “We need to inform and educate, not tax and legislate. Let’s not forget that all taxes like this hit the poorest hardest, so however well-intentioned these campaigners might be the result of their calls will be to push up the cost of living for the very people who are already struggling.
“A ‘fat tax’ has been tried in Denmark – it didn’t work. Let’s try to avoid their mistakes”.