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Is a tax on chocolate really helpful?

This week we saw a Lanarkshire GP call for the UK government to consider imposing a tax on chocolate as a way to ease the ever worsening obesity situation in the UK. While this suggestion was treated with the contempt it probably deserved on the face of it, under the surface there are serious concerns about the obesity problem hitting the UK and the cost to the National Health Service. But is a chocolate tax really helpful?

As with any change in policy by the UK government everything seems to revolve around tax as a way of stopping people from spending. However, as we have seen with cigarettes and alcohol, an increase in taxes and retail prices may affect some consumers but overall many people learn to adjust their budgets and continue buying what they want. What we really need is a concerted effort to get the UK fit again by investment in local leisure centres, school playing fields, sports clubs and other social activities which assist the community and help people to get fit.

Introducing a new tax to raise new money at this time of economic uncertainty seems like political suicide and a cheap shot at increasing government income flows. There is no doubt that the UK government need to reinvest more money into leisure facilities and sports clubs for example rather than taking more money from the economy to fund such issues as public sector pensions and other taxpayer liabilities which have been increasing substantially over the years.

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