Boris Johnson faces backlash over his war on 'sin taxes'

Mail Online | 7/3/2019 | James Tapsfield, Political Editor, For Mailonline
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Boris Johnson is facing a backlash today after he declared war on 'sin taxes' - complaining that they 'clobber' the poorest families.

The Tory leadership frontrunner pledged to review the government's flagship sugar tax on fizzy drinks if he reaches No10, and insisted it will not be extended to milkshakes.

Taxes - Foods - Salt - Fat - Sugar

He also vowed to freeze new taxes on foods which are high in salt, fat or sugar – and argued those who want to lose weight should just exercise more.

The policy would amount to a major reversal of government efforts to combat obesity.

Announcement - Charities - Obesity - Cause - Cancers

The announcement - which came as charities warned obesity is now a bigger cause of many cancers than smoking - sparked an immediate backlash from health campaigners who accused Mr Johnson of 'turning back the clock'.

The Royal Society for Public Health argued you 'cannot outrun a bad diet' and said it was wrong to put the onus on individuals to change their habits.

Tory - Health - Minister - Steve - Brine

Tory former health minister Steve Brine branded it 'dog whistle politics' and said he was in 'despair'. Others pointed out that Mr Johnson had himself introduced a sugar tax in City Hall when he was Mayor of London.

In one of his most significant policy announcements to date, Mr Johnson questioned whether there is clear evidence that 'sin stealth taxes' work.

Proposal - Tax - Milkshakes

'The recent proposal for a tax on milkshakes seems to me to clobber those who can least afford it,' he said.

'If we want people to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles, we should encourage people to walk, cycle and generally do more exercise.'

Levy - Drinks - April - Attempt - Amount

A levy on soft drinks was introduced in April 2018 in an attempt to cut the amount of sugar they contain.

Aides said Mr Johnson's policy will not apply to other sin taxes such as those on cigarettes and alcohol.

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