Cash For Losing Weight

Unh, hunh:

Fat people will be offered cash incentives to lose weight and take regular exercise under a radical Government strategy announced yesterday to tackle the obesity epidemic.

Employers will be encouraged to set up competitions with money, vouchers and other rewards for people who give up junk food in favour of healthy eating and living. Those losing the most weight would earn the biggest prizes.

Umm, who pays for this?

The strategy said: "We will look at using financial incentives, such as payments, vouchers and other rewards, to encourage individuals to lose weight and sustain that weight loss, to eat more healthily, or to be consistently more physically active."

It is not clear from the strategy who would fund such schemes but the onus is likely to be on companies as they could expect to benefit from a healthier workforce. It is likely that the schemes would also be tax deductible.

Ah, right.

Now if companies would benefit from this then they\’d be doing it already, wouldn\’t they? And as to tax deductibility, well, if they were doing this it would already be deductible, because it would be a cost of doing business.

So this is actually a tax rise on business: spend your limited money the way the government tells you to, not they way you would normally.

No change there then.

16 comments on “Cash For Losing Weight

  1. I run a small business and would welcome the government making gym membership, paid for by the company tax deductible. After all, a tax cut is a tax cut.
    Even better would be to encourage people to work harder by cutting tax on income. Fat chance!

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  3. “After all, a tax cut is a tax cut.”

    Well, sort of. It won’t work out that simple, though, will it? It’ll be a tax cut with strings attached and hoops to jump through and tax rises elsewhere.

  4. What Kay Tie says. In t’paper this morning it said that obesity costs the NHS £1bn. This is about 1% of the NHS’s budget, so pretty much fuck-all-divided-by-six in the grander scheme of things.

  5. Those losing the most weight would earn the biggest prizes.

    So we will now encourage discrimination against thin people. How long until the first lawsuit from an anorexic?

    obesity costs the NHS £1bn. This is about 1% of the NHS’s budget

    Also, how much tax does the so called junk food industry generate? And how much extra will we have to pay in pensions, benefits and healthcare if people don’t die early from obesity?

  6. And how much extra will we have to pay in pensions, benefits and healthcare if people don’t die early from obesity?

    That’s the big hole in the arguments of all the nanny staters who want to ruin your life. They use cost estimates for a problem, without mentioning the benefits.

  7. “And how much extra will we have to pay in pensions, benefits and healthcare if people don’t die early from obesity?”

    Of course, the government’s plan is a nonsense, but so is this assertion about cost savings from obesity. People with unhealthy lifestyles not only die earlier, but they also tend to suffer far more years of (expensive) chronic ill-health than people with healthier lifestyles, and they are more likely to incur the costs resulting from this ill health (medical care and ill-health benefits such as incapacity benefit) during what would otherwise be their working lifetime.

    Thus people with healthy lifestyles may cost more in pensions, but they cost less in medical care (they tend to be pretty healthy practically to the end), they contribute more towards their pensions. and they contribute more in taxes.

  8. “People with unhealthy lifestyles not only die earlier, but they also tend to suffer far more years of (expensive) chronic ill-health than people with healthier lifestyles”

    but *chronic* ill-health isn’t expensive – GP visits, beta blockers and insulin don’t cost much. Intensive care beds, chemo drugs and transplants do, and they tend to go to primarily to previously-healthy people, because unhealthy-anyway people just die…

  9. john b,

    Yours would be a good argument, were it supported by the facts. However it isn’t, so it isn’t.

    To take just one example, it has been amply demonstrated that smoking, poor lifestyles and bad diets dramatically increase rates of cancer – and it is these people who need the chemo drugs.

  10. “Yours would be a good argument, were it s
    supported by the facts. However it isn’t, so it isn’t.”

    perhaps, given that you’re making the claim that is at odds with received wisdom, you could provide them.

  11. As the NHS is all about saving money these days, may I suggest large prizes to the anorexic who loses the most weight? It might ward of the inevitable lawsuits for discrimination Ed rightly brings up. (A few weasel words at the bottom of entry forms indicating prizes will not be awarded posthumously will avert any need to actually pay them out.)

  12. john b:

    “received wisdom”?

    From where has this received wisdom of yours suddenly emerged? Your claim is crackpot and not supported by any authority on the matter – in fact, you just made it up.

    The famous Philip Morris Czech report tried to make just such an argument as yours, claiming that because smokers die earlier and pay tobacco taxes, governments actually gain financially from smokers. This report has been comprehensively dismantled (not difficult because it is full of spurious arguments) and shown to be completely erroneous – just do a little research on Google.

    Received wisdom, indeed. Received ignorance, more like.

  13. As a skinny person myself, I resent yet another assault on the civil liberties of the big folk. This is just another persecution festival, by creeps who want to invade the career domain of other people, in search of a proxy to do their dirty work. Employers should tell them to get stuffed.

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