Carbon Tax and Sugar Tax Will Save Lives

February 4, 2016 Taxation in UK

LONDON – Sugar taxes and carbon taxes could greatly benefit the UK, but in unison they could reduce consumption of beef, increase consumption of vegetables, while also raising tax revenues.

The combined effect of a carbon tax and a sugar tax would save lives and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all without damaging tax revenues, according to the results of new research published in the research journal BMC Public Health.

The research examined the potential effects of introducing a carbon tax of GBP 2.86 per tonne of carbon on the production of food which entails a higher than average level of emissions, or a carbon tax on high emission production partnered with a tax subsidy on foods with lower than average emissions levels, and the additional effect on levying a sugar tax with a rate of 20 percent alongside both forms of the carbon tax.

The results of the research indicated that any scenario involving a carbon tax will lead to a reduction in consumption of beef and lamb, with a shift towards consumption of poultry and pork, move which may reduce fat intake, and decrease cancer and heart disease rates.

The scenario with a subsidiary for low-emissions industries would also see a reduction in the consumption of cream, cheese and eggs, but an increase in the consumption of vegetables, a scenario which would avert even more early deaths.

The combined effect of the sugar tax and the carbon tax was estimated to be as high as GBP 3.4 billion per year, although this amount would be lost if a subsidy on low-emissions foods was introduced.

Aside from improving health standards, and potentially raising tax revenues, the combined taxes could also lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of up to 18.9 percent.

Photo By: Dawn Ellner