George Freeman, the life sciences minister, said that food companies should be aware that if they continued to produce food that could lead to poor lifestyles and ill health they would be penalised.
Mr Freeman is the first minister to back a sugar tax. Last year, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, ruled out the measure, saying the Government was looking at other ways to encourage people to eat more healthily.
Mr Freeman told an audience at the Hay Festival that it was clear that sugary drinks and snacks were behind the worsening obesity epidemic in Britain. “I don’t think heavy-handed legislation is the way to go,” he said.
“But I think that where there is a commercial product which confers costs on all of us as a society, as in sugar, and where we can clearly show that the use of that leads to huge pressures on social costs, then we could be looking at recouping some of that through taxation.
“Companies should know that if you insist on selling those products, we will tax them.”
But it’s not clear that it’s sugary drinks and snacks. In fact it’s clear that it isn’t. I’s oless exercise, not more calories, that’s making all into lardbuckets.
Pretty shallow, that pool of talent on the Tory benches, isn’t it?