Robert Jenrick Criticises Snack Tax Plans As Food Tsar Insists They Could Save the NHS

Following Guido’s story yesterday that Boris’s food tsar Henry Dimbleby is proposing huge taxes on foods high in sugar and salt (plans which would cost every household an estimated £172 every year), Robert Jenrick made this morning’s media round to push back on the proposals and insist that they are not government policy – yet. Speaking on LBC, Jenrick said:

“Well that isn’t the government’s policy… I think you have to be very cautious before putting burdens on members of the public, particularly those on lower incomes. That’s my long-standing view…  going to consider it carefully, and set out our national food strategy in the coming months…I think you do have to be very careful about going down that road, because I don’t want to make life more difficult for people on low incomes.”

Dimbleby himself also gave an interview this morning, appearing on the Today programme to defend the plans and once again insist that they’re necessary to protect the NHS:

“The junk food cycle is, we think, the thing that is causing the harm…we do not actually believe [the taxes] will hike the price. What it will do is it will reformulate, it will make people take sugar and salt out…there may be some products that you can’t reformulate…the question you have to ask then is: ‘is the freedom to keep Frosties cheap worth destroying the NHS for?'”

UPDATE: Boris has also come out against the snack tax plans during his levelling up speech, saying:

“I’m not, I must say, attracted to the idea of extra taxes on hard-working people. Let me just signal that.”

A much clearer statement than the rest of that speech…

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