Every so often, politicians in the United States take a look at the country’s obesity problem and propose a ban or tax on sweetener-laden soft drinks in order to encourage healthier alternatives. Then fights break out over free markets and nanny states and the whole thing is forgotten. But the U.S. isn’t the only country where obesity and healthy diets are salient issues. France has enacted a “sugar tax,” and now UK politicians are considering something along similar lines.
UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports that a motion from the country’s Liberal Democrats party is calling for the taxation of sugary soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi by as much as 20 percent:
The plan - which has been proposed by Baroness Parminter, the party's co-chairman of its Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee - is part of a series of “policies and measures aimed at promoting healthier and more sustainable diets”.
Last night Baroness Parminter told The Daily Telegraph: “I am concerned by the timebomb that we have of obesity – particularly among children; we have 500,000 children who have liver disease because of obesity.
“I think it is time that the whole food debate looks at all the measures to give people healthier choices about the foods they eat.”
Parminter also told the Telegraph that she and her party have not yet thrown themselves completely in favor of this motion, but it’s a possibility and worth a discussion to get the government thinking about public health. Still, we can’t imagine that the soft drink or snack industries will wait until support has solidified before firing back against even the promise of such a discussion.
The motion will be open for debate during the party’s upcoming annual conference on September 23.
[SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph]