Some policymakers and public health activists erroneously believe they can force people to better health through discriminatory taxes even though they are highly unpopular and ineffective. A recent report from the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) explains why a sugar tax is bad public policy.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TPA, said: “It is deeply concerning that the Government has given into the pressures from the public health lobby and is pushing ahead with this regressive tax which will hit the poorest families hardest.”

That’s right. Taxes on common grocery items are highly regressive - the poor and middle class pay a much higher share of their income on the tax than do high-income households. So why do governments want to push this harmful tax onto families who can least afford the burden?

“This is yet another example of irresponsible meddling from the High Priests of the Nanny State, introducing entirely unnecessary complications into an already complicated tax system and pushing up the cost of everyday products for hard-pressed families,” says Isaby.

Instead of wasting their time on harmful policies, we encourage governments to focus on meaningful solutions to combat the complex issue of obesity.