New taxes to tackle obesity would push up the costs of living at a time when global food prices are spiking, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ahead of the publication of a new national food strategy.
“What we don’t want to do right now is start whacking new taxes on, that will just push up the cost of food,” Johnson told reporters.
The food strategy will be published later on Monday.
An earlier recommendation to tax salt and sugar in processed food was not included in details of the strategy briefed in advance, with the focus now on increasing domestic production to boost food security rather than on obesity.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has contributed to an increase in global food prices.
Johnson, who has in the past used his struggle with his own weight to urge Britons to get fitter, also said that his government was working with the food and drink industry to get rid of high fat salt and sugar content in food.
Around one in three people in England were obese, a government research briefing ‘overweight’ said in March, while a further 36.2% were overweight. A World Health Organisation report last year said about 13% of the world’s adult population were obese in 2016.
“Of course, you have got to champion healthy eating, we’ve got to help people to lose weight, there all sorts of ways of doing it,” Johnson said.
“The best way to lose weight, believe me, is to eat less.”