Ibec claims fat tax will affect wealth, not health


A fat tax is a simplistic solution which will have little impact on diet and will only be seen by the public as another “stealth tax”, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children was told yesterday.

Taxes on sugary drinks and high-fat foods have been suggested as ways of reducing Ireland’s rising obesity rates. Shane Dempsey, of Ibec’s food and drinks section, told the committee that such taxes would affect wealth more than health. He pointed to research by Prof Richard Tiffin of the University of Reading which suggested that a fat tax on food would have a marginal effect on people’s diets and would hit the poorest in society most.

Mr Dempsey said the contribution of soft drinks to calorie intake was just 2-3 per cent and 60 per cent of the population did not consume them. Soft drinks were already highly taxed, with a VAT rate of 23 per cent, he added.