BORIS Johnson’s food tsar is to recommend a tax on salty foods, The Sun can reveal.
Millionaire Leon founder Henry Dimbleby will put the new levy front and centre of his government review into getting Brits to eat healthier.
Sources familiar with drafts of the upcoming National Food Strategy say it suggests a tax of SIX per cent on high-salt content foods.
That could see the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac soar by 20p and push a bag of Quavers to 91p.
The levy would hit processed meats like bangers and bacon particularly hard but is modelled on the sugar tax in a bid to get manufacturers to slash the amount of salt in their products.
The 18p per litre tax on sugary drinks came into force in 2018, but supporters claim it led to companies changing recipes to swerve the levy.
Mr Dimbleby has been tasked to find ways to get the nation to eat less salt, red meat, saturated fats and sugar, and more vegetables and fruit.
Last night a source familiar with the draft said: “Meat products contribute to 26 per cent of our daily sodium intake, with bread making up up 10 per cent.
“All of this would be hit by the high salt tax.”
Last night No10 said the report was “still a piece of work that’s ongoing”.
But angry campaigners demanded plans for a salt tax be killed off immediately.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is yet another case of middle-class meddling that will hit the poorest families hardest.”
How much it could cost you
Walkers grab bag cheese Quavers
- Cost: 85p
- With levy: 90p
- Added cost over a year if you buy one bag a week for a year: £7.80
Goodfella’s takeaway The Big Cheese pizza (555g)
- Cost: £3.30
- With levy: £3.50
- Added cost if you have one a week for a year: £10.40
Birds Eye 24 Chicken Nuggets (379g)
- Cost: £2.70
- With levy: £2.86
- Cost if you buy one bag a week for a year: £8.32
Greggs sausage rolls (four pack)
- Cost: £2
- With levy: £2.12
- Cost if you buy a box a week for a year: £6.24
Domino’s Mighty Meaty pizza (large)
- Cost: £21.99
- With levy: £23.31
- Cost if you buy one a week for a year: £68.64
Smoked bacon (ten pack)
- Cost: £1.50
- With levy: £1.59
- Added cost if you buy one pack a week for a year: £4.68
KP Original salted peanuts
- Cost: £2.49
- With levy: £2.64
- Added cost if you a bag a week for a year: £7.80
Pringles salt and vinegar crisps (200g tube)
- Cost: £2.50
- With levy: £2.65
- Added cost if you buy one tube a week for a year: £7.80
Super Noodles chicken flavour (90g)
- Cost: 60p
- With levy: 64p
- Cost if you a pack every week for a year: £2.08
Kellogg’s Frosties cereal bars (six pack)
- Cost: 99p
- With levy: £1.05
- Added cost if you buy a box a week for a year: £3.12
'This pinch of salt won’t make us healthier…just poorer'
says Dr Robert Lefever
SAVOURY foods like crisps and pizza are set to become more expensive, with the Government recommending a six-per-cent tax rise on salty foods.
Food tsar Henry Dimbleby, the millionaire founder of the Leon restaurant chain, wants the new levy on everything from a bag of Quavers to McDonald’s Happy Meals.
Just like the sugar tax before it, this approach simply won’t work. Those who like and enjoy salty foods will seek them out and eat them anyway.
Sadly, it is always the UK’s poorer households that will feel the financial burden most acutely and this comes in the midst of a pandemic when many are already struggling.
As we saw with the sugar tax, it is these hard-working families that tend to buy more sugary drinks and snacks and despite a rise in cost, they will continue to do so.
Little has changed since the sugar tax was introduced in April 2018 and obesity is still a huge problem.
Statistics from NHS Digital show that more than 60 per cent of the UK’s adult population are now overweight or obese and those figures have been rising steadily since the Nineties.
The result will be the same for salty foods. It is cheaper, processed foods that tend to contain a lot of salt.
Those in low-income households are buying these foods because of a six-per-cent rise in cost and this tax in no way improves their health.
They are still consuming the salt. The only difference is that their bank balance is struggling more because of it. Instead of hitting our waistlines, it is hitting most of us in the pocket as well now.
So who does this tax benefit? Only the Government, who will always look for ways to tax us as they are so good at spending our money.
It wins them votes, and consumption taxes like this one help them to avoid rising income tax, which would make them very unpopular.
They like to think they are doing good and, in this case, they claim they are lowering salt consumption and saving us all from high blood pressure, preventing thousands of strokes and heart attacks.
Salt CAN increase blood pressure and, if you eat too much, it is bad for your health. But the truth is, for many of us, salt isn’t the evil it is made out to be.
IT ISN'T THE EVIL
It’s a preservative and many food companies add it just to prolong the shelf life of products.
If your blood pressure is at a healthy level then there is no harm in eating some of the foods you enjoy — in moderation, of course.
Food is meant to be pleasurable but the Government never tells us to go out and have a bit of what you enjoy.
One thing a salty diet always does is to make us more thirsty. Does the Government really want us to cut down on everything we drink. What fun will be left? And what will they tax next to make up for the lost revenue from beer, wine and spirits?
If anyone is to blame it is the companies making these products and producers should be forced to make these products healthier before they hit supermarket shelves.
Salt stimulates the appetite. It hits the tongue with a real whammy and then you crave more.
There’s little harm in eating the odd bacon sandwich or handful of Pringles. My heart goes out to people who just want a little treat here and there and are already living hand to mouth.
Instead of punishing hard-working Brits with rising food bills and costs, the Government should persuade companies to do something to make their own products healthier so we can all get on with our lives.
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