A new report has been published today, which calls for the introduction of a sugary drinks duty in the United Kingdom as part of the 2013 budget. The move is intended to be a vehicle to combat diet-related illness in children. While we should not dismiss the importance of protecting young peoples' health, this draconian proposal not only lacks evidence - it also lacks a sense of fairness.
The British government should learn lessons from Denmark, where a 'fat tax' was recently abandoned speedily because of its adverse economic, social and political effects - and the associated absence of health benefits. Although it was intended to hit products such as sweets and crisps, in practice it pushed up the prices of meat and dairy products; leading Danes to flock to German supermarkets across the border to escape the punitive taxes.
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