Nadiya Hussain: Meat tax is 'unfair'

Nadiya Hussain

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The 2015 Great British Bake Off Winner, Nadiya Hussain, has slammed a proposed 'meat tax', which would increase the cost of beef, lamb and pork, as well as processed meats.

Appearing on the breakfast show with Julia Hartley-Brewer, Ms Hussain said that charging people more to eat red and processed meats was "unfair".

Her appearance on the show followed a study carried out by researchers at Oxford University, which claims that meat taxes could prevent almost 6,000 deaths per year in the UK, and reduce healthcare costs by £30.7 billion by 2020.


"We shouldn't take choices away, we should allow people to do what they want without saying they have to pay more for it," Ms Hussain said.

"Maybe we should strip back to basics and educate people, and say this is the reason perhaps you should eat less meat, and perhaps, you should eat more veg. Educate people and allow them to make their own choices. When you take choice away from people, they rebel."


Tax would be 'incredibly regressive'

Ben Ramanauskas, a policy analyst at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the proposed tax was "incredibly regressive" and would hit the "poorest people hardest".

Speaking to talkRADIO's Matthew Wright, Mr Ramanauskas said: "A tax on meat is going to double the price for a packet of sausages for most people, increase steaks, burgers and it's going to hit the poorest people hardest. It's incredibly regressive and for the poorest people in the country who are already struggling sometimes to put food on the table for their families, it's going to make it much, much harder.

"This research seems to suggest that the only thing about life is living as long as humanly possible. Maybe some people will want to live a very miserable life and never eat, drink or have a bacon sandwich and live to 93, but most people will probably prefer to have a nice bacon sandwich."


'Sends a powerful signal to consumers'

The proposed meat tax follows evidence linking the consumption of red meat to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The World Health Organisation has previously classified beef, lamb and pork as carcinogenic when eaten in processed form.

Lead researcher, Dr Marco Springmann, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, said: "The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high and middle-income countries.

"A health levy on red and processed meat would not limit choices, but send a powerful signal to consumers and take pressure off our healthcare systems."

The study has been published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, and suggests that if a tax on meats was introduced, it could reduce consumption of bacon and sausages by around two portions per week in high-income countries.