'How is adding £180 to people's food bills levelling up minister?'

15 July 2021, 08:24

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the moment Nick Ferrari challenged a government minister over a proposed food tax.

"How is it levelling up to put an addition £180 on a family's shopping bill, adding 87p to a packet of Frosties?"

Nick Ferrari challenged Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick after a new report called for additional taxes on sugary and salty foods to help improve people's health in England.

Read more: National Food Strategy calls for salt and sugar tax and veg on prescription

Mr Jenrick said it "isn't the government's policy" and it was an "independent report."

So Nick asked if this meant the report had been "rejected," by ministers.

The minister said they had "only received it this morning..."

But, Nick again challenged Mr Jenrick asking what his view was on having an "old Etonian telling people they should spend 87p more on a box of Frosties."

Mr Jenrick tried to suggest it was down to the Environment Secretary, but again Nick cut him off asking for clarification.

The National Food Strategy - says poor diet causes tens of thousands of deaths a year and is driving climate change

It's being suggested that the money raised should be used to subsidise free school meals and healthier food for families on low incomes

The National Food Strategy warns what we eat, and how it is produced, is doing "terrible damage" to the environment and health, contributing to 64,000 deaths a year in England and driving wildlife loss and climate change.

The report warned disease caused by poor diets cost the economy an estimated £74 billion a year, and puts a huge strain on the NHS, while the food we eat accounts for around a quarter of greenhouse gases and is the leading driver of habitat and wildlife loss.

In the UK, agriculture alone accounts for 10% of emissions, while contributing less than 1% of economic output, and livestock accounts for 85% of the farmland that feeds the UK both here and abroad, some of which domestically must be freed up for climate and nature initiatives such as creating woodlands.

To meet existing Government targets on health, climate and nature, by 2032 fruit and vegetable consumption will need to increase by 30% and fibre by 50%.

At the same time, consumption of food high in saturated fat, salt and sugar will have to go down by 25%, and meat consumption should reduce by 30%.