‘Meat Taxes’ Would Save Lives And Cut Health Care Costs, Study Says
‘Meat Taxes’ Would Save Lives And Cut Health Care Costs, Study Says
A meat tax could save the economy £700m researchers say
08 November, 2018, 21:35
The question of a "meat tax" has been hotly debated across the media, after researchers at the University of Oxford claimed it could prevent nearly 6,000 deaths per year and more than £700m in healthcare costs in the UK.
Because of this difference in health costs, the health taxes would need to differ by region, to factor in the health and economic burden of red and processed meat consumption in a specific region. Then they calculated an optimal tax that could help account for those health costs.
An effective tax in Sweden increased the price of processed meat by a whopping 185% and that of red meat by 27%. Thus public consumption of sugar has reduced.
In the United Kingdom, the "optimal" levy would raise the cost of red meat by 14 per cent and processed meat by 79 per cent. Lead researcher Dr Marco Springmann, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford university, said it would "send a powerful signal to consumers and take pressure off our healthcare systems". Unprocessed red meats too have been known to raise the risk of cancers, the report had said. And as a result, the health taxes we calculated are based on an economically optimal tax that is high in high-income countries and low in low-income countries.
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As a result the taxes would recoup about 70% of the $285bn spent every year around the world treating illness caused by eating red meat.
Now a standard 681g pack of 12 pork sausages from Tesco costs £1.09. Fresh burgers and mince are not considered to be processed meats.
The suggested United Kingdom meat tax rates would have a significant impact on food prices here, but consumers in some other countries would likely be hit even harder. Due to its relatively modest healthcare spending the United Kingdom is somewhere in the middle with an 80% increase.
Many people eat far more red and processed meat than recommended.
The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high- and middle-income countries, which has significant impacts not only on personal health, but also on healthcare systems and on economies, which are losing workers due to ill health.
Both types of meat have been linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as cancers of the digestive system, such as bowel cancer. Since meat also has a massive environmental footprint, reducing consumption would also cut greenhouse gas emissions. And it would also reduce levels of obesity by driving consumers to lower-calorie substitutions.
For the United Kingdom, it was estimated that 6,000 lives could be saved every year if a 14% on red meat and 79% of processed meat were imposed.
Reading the news today it looks possible, especially with academics quoted in national newspapers saying it is "inevitable" that a red meat tax will come into force.
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