Hunt won’t rule out sugar tax, as Jamie gets ‘more ninja’

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Oliver has vowed to get more ninja in his campaign for a sugar tax
Oliver has vowed to get more ninja in his campaign for a sugar tax

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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has refused to rule out a sugar tax, as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has vowed to “get more ninja” in his bid to tackle the UK’s obesity epidemic.

Conservative MP for south west Surrey Hunt said Oliver’s threat was “terrifying”​, as the chef said this government needed to be removed from power as soon as possible.

“I think we'll have to just change our strategy, get more ninja, go a bit more underground and a little bit less nice,”​ Oliver told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

‘Get them out of power’

“I think we need to sort of try and get them out of power as soon as possible because child health has to be central to a healthy prosperous economy.

“It doesn't matter what government it is, it doesn't matter. I don't think it will be pretty.” 

Oliver said he wouldn’t mind if a tax wasn’t brought into action on sugary drinks, as long as something better was introduced.

He encouraged PM David Cameron to be “brave and bold”​ and to “act as a parent not a politician”​ when he makes his decision on how to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.

Oliver also claimed that obesity costs the planet more money than is spent on wars globally.

Responding to Oliver’s comments, Hunt told Marr a sugar tax was still on the table and promised to deliver a “game-changing”​ strategy for combating child obesity later this month. 

Against a tax

Despite more than 150,000 people signing a petition to debate Oliver’s sugar tax in parliament, the resulting discussions resulted in government voting against the tax.  

Food and drink manufacturers backed the decision not to tax sugary drinks.

The Food and Drink Federation’s director general Ian Wright said a sugar tax was misplaced.

“Jamie Oliver and his followers have an important contribution to make but the focus on a sugar tax is misplaced,”​ Wright said.  

“So we are pleased that the government has definitively ruled it out. New taxes would hit those on lower incomes without improving the nation’s health.”​ 

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