A seven pence tax on fizzy drinks with high sugar levels is the latest idea to come from everyone’s favourite philanthropist chef Jamie Oliver. How the cook came up with the taxable amount is anyone’s guess; a magic eight ball or maybe he asked one of his children to pick their favourite number. This is inherently the problem with taxes, how can anyone determine a ‘fair’ amount to be taxed? The answer is they can’t, nobody can. Hence why when asking any loud mouthed lefty how much more the tax the rich should pay, the answer is always ‘more, just more’. Obviously.
The idea behind the Orwellian tax – to eradicate the growing problem of obesity in Britain – is worthy. Unfortunately this is the least effective way of changing people’s behaviour. If implemented it would drastically effect those with less money more than anyone else. Sin taxes as they are known have been proven to do this. Alcohol and cigarette taxes hit those at the bottom extremely hard. Those in the bottom income quintile spend 78% and 583% more of their income on taxes for booze and fags respectively. The Danish even implemented a tax on fatty foods, which led to the Danes hopping over the border and sneaking back with their pockets filled with cakes and tarts, only at the expense of the chancellor of the exchequer.
Jamie, not one to only provide the government with an entree, has also offered sides as well. Banning energy drinks in lunch boxes, junk food adverts before the watershed and junk food shops near schools, whatever they are. I could understand why he wanted to improve the lunches schools provide, now he wants to police what parents put in their kids’ lunch boxes. Maybe he would be happier if a sugar officer did the morning rounds to ensure the youngsters aren’t putting too much white powder on their corn flakes.
The 7p fizzy drinks tax is just the latest idea in a long line of ludicrous plans in an attempt to control the people’s behaviour. In all honesty I don’t think this plan goes far enough, everyone knows that in order to stop behaviour we have to ban it altogether. That is why we made stealing illegal, and look how pukka that turned out to be Jamie!