The Financial Times reports that Boris Johnson has poured cold water on the National Food Strategy commissioned by his own government, saying he would not support higher taxes on salt and sugar in food.
Speaking in Coventry, the prime minister said: “I’m not attracted to the idea of extra taxes on hard working people.”
The second part of the National Food Strategy was published on Thursday. Among its recommendations was a tax of £3 per kilogramme on sugar and £6 on salt destined for use in restaurants and food processing. These levies could increase the price of some confectionery and snack foods by up to 13 per cent.
Johnson added he would study the report. “It’s an independent report. Doubtless there are some good ideas in it.”
But he stressed that while he believed in tackling obesity and helping people to lose weight, this was better done by promoting exercise and restricting junk food advertising.
Henry Dimbleby, the food entrepreneur appointed by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to compile the report, has argued that decades of promoting exercise and healthier eating have had a negligible impact on obesity levels and that a more interventionist approach was needed.