UK Urged to Impose Tobacco-Style Sin Taxes to Slash Meat Consumption

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Sky-high sin taxes on meat have been branded “inevitable” in Britain after a study asserted that the move could “save hundreds of thousands of lives” as well as helping stop climate change.

Researchers at Oxford University urged ministers to consider the move, claiming that hiking the cost of red meat by 14 per cent and processed meat by 79 per cent could prevent 5,920 deaths in Britain a year and save the NHS an annual sum of £750 million on healthcare costs.

Lead researcher Dr Marco Springmann, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, said: “The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high and middle-income countries.

“This is having significant impacts not only on personal health, but also on healthcare systems, which are taxpayer-funded in many countries, and on the economy, which is losing its labour force due to ill health and care for family members who fall ill.

“I hope that governments will consider introducing a health levy on red and processed meat as part of a range of measures to make healthy and sustainable decision-making easier for consumers.

“A health levy on red and processed meat would not limit choices, but send a powerful signal to consumers and take pressure off our healthcare systems.”

The Institute for Economic Affairs’ Chris Snowdon described the numbers in the study as “unfeasibly large”, stating that even if one takes the “outlandish” health claims to be true, the authors appear to have made “a classic mistake” of so-called public health research when calculating potential healthcare savings.

Pointing out that “people who live to a ripe old age tend to cost a lot of money”, he explained in the Spectator that studies of this kind often make the assumption that “someone who avoids a diet-related disease will avoid every other disease and never trouble the health service again”.

However, he warned punitive taxes on meat could well become reality in Britain, noting that the study uses “the same combination of junk science and dodgy economics that led to the sugar tax”.

“An unholy alliance of ‘public health’ campaigners, environmentalists and vegetarians will be working night and day to make this happen. Taxing food is the next battleground for the nanny state,” the IEA’s director of lifestyle economics told The Sun.

Meanwhile, analysts interviewed in The Guardian argued that heavy sin taxes on meat were “inevitable” as part of international action to stop so-called climate change, with globalist think tank Chatham House’s Rob Bailey commenting “it’s only a matter of time before agriculture becomes the focus of serious climate policy” and that the public health angle of research “will likely strengthen government resolve”.

Asserting that meat is following down the same path as tobacco, sugar, and carbon emissions, he told the newspaper: “As implementation of the Paris climate agreement progresses we’re highly likely to see government action to reduce the environmental impact of the global livestock sector. On the current pathway we may well see some form of meat tax emerge within five to 10 years.”

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