Saturday, 29 October 2011

Fat Tax II - Take away's to get stealth tax?

There have been discussions about bringing a Fat tax into the UK that would see food of a certain calorie level taxed in an attempt to combat obesity in the UK.

Now a new measure is being suggested and backed by Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch.

In Last week's KM [21-10-11 Medway Messenger article "Takeaway tax touted by MP in fight against Fat" by Alan McGuinness] it was reported that levels of obesity in Medway were such that 30% if adults were obese and more than 20% of children were overweight. Quite a shocking statistic. To fund education into better diet and litter picking generated by takeaways such as Baran's Kebab and Fish bar of Sturdee Avenue or McDonald's (who organise their own litter patrols within a certain radius of the restaurants.) a one off tax will be levied to any new take away before it opens its doors.

It is very interesting, it should be explored. Miss Crouch stated. We have to remember that these people pay business rates.
We are trying to encourage businesses to open but we just have to look at all these different issues and see what the pros and cons are.

Starting up a catering outset is always expensive, ovens, fryers, freezers etc as well as starting stock, menus and opening publicity can near enough bankrupt anyone. Then to have a one off £1000 tax on top of that might cripple someone. As she says these businesses do pay business rates and we are trying to encourage business to grow and for entrepreneurs to start up companies, do we really want to cripple them with more tax?
Companies like Burger King, KFC and McDonald's will be able to absorb the cost without a problem but a smaller business won't be able to.

Other options, currently carried out by Medway Council, include siting such places away from schools where Children can have easier access and temptation. Ones like the Baran's fish bar in Sturdee, situated between four schools, would end up with severe planning problems.

Littering isn't really the responsibility of the companies, it is the individual consumer who then litters. If anything greater education in schools or from parents should combat this and the unhealthy eating. I've seen kids walking past my house and just dropping their fish wrappers in my garden, and adults too. Also what of confectionery companies who also produce such waste, should they also be charged?
Does Subway count as a take away, it's food isn't high calorie but it does produce litter?

I agree with the principle though but it does need more research.

Thankfully for me, Miss Crouch agrees that consumers shouldn't be levelled with such a fee. Though the pro of that is that the consumer who does over eat does pay for their eventual health care the con being someone who indulges occasionally gets hit with it.

In Friday 28th October's KM the following comments were posted by readers:

I don't see how going after the income of takeaway outlets is fair when perhaps the fatties should be targeted themselves - Dr D

I can see his point but...

I don't see what a stealth-tax such as this would achieve. Clearly a poorly thought-out idea. -Jon

Food for thought.

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