Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Oldham weighs in with fat tax

According to The Sun newspaper, health-conscious councillors in Oldham want to slap a £1,000 ‘fat tax’ on takeaway outlets – in an effort to tackle obesity.

Can we just be absolutely clear about something here? Councillors don’t want to ‘slap a fat tax’ on anything... the meddlesome, unelected council officers do. I’ve never met a councillor of any political hue who ever had an original policy thought in their life. The vast majority of ‘initiatives’ that come from local councils are dreamed up by ambitious council officers anxious to be the first to introduce triple roundabouts, gay maths lessons, healthy eating programmes or any other fashionable nonsense that happens to take their fancy or will give them a step up to the next rung of the career ladder.

Anyway, back to the local council in Oldham, a town in northwest England, where the local council is reported to be considering charging takeaways a levy of £1,000 a year, which the council claims will go towards healthy eating initiatives. In other words, as local council budgets are cut, the local nomenklatura who run our councils are desperately looking for ways to stop their empires from being cut back. There must be hundreds of five-a-day coordinators and diversity champions quaking in their boots right now. Their bosses will be most upset at the prospect of losing staff; in the world of local government, having your department downsized is worse than having your private parts cut off.

Apparently not all food outlets will fall foul of the tax as the council is considering exemptions for takeaways that serve healthy options such as ‘smoothies’. Obviously, the town hall gauleiters don’t realise how much sugar, flavourings and other crap reside in the average smoothie. I doubt very much if any obese residents living in Oldham need fortifying with a smoothie.

This isn’t the first time that a local authority has tried to enforce healthy eating. Last year a number of councils distributed new salt dispensers to their local chippies. These new shakers have fewer pouring holes and therefore deliver less salt than the conventional shakers. This concern for our health is all very touching but it might be an idea if the jobsworths made sure our bins were emptied regularly and that local rat populations were brought under control before they turn their attention to salt and fat levels in our diet.

Frankly, the foodie in me doesn’t really care if these proposals to tax takeaways serving lard and other vile food are introduced. However, the libertarian in me certainly does. This Orwellian nudging and interference in our food choices is no business of local councils.


  1. The more i read about the state of affairs in UK the more determined i am to stay in Crete.

    The freedom of choice here is paradise in itself, none of this big brother / nanying here and as for the non smoking ban, forget it.

    Everyone has choices here that are not forced upon them.

    The Mediterannian diet is alive and kicking, the older generation stick to it, but since supermarkets have introduced ready meals and junk food, and MuckDonalds, Pizza Hut and Kentucky fried chicken outlets are here, the Med diet is fast becoming a thing of the past.

    But it is of personal choice ,if people want to eat ready made meals or traditional cooking, and in any taverna it is chips with everything unless you request roast potatoes done in olive oil.

    I don`t ever want to move back to the UK again, unless i have to. The way of life here after you go through the red tape is simplicity.

    Granted, it is so expensive here to live, but the UK will be so much worse very soon.

    You can leave your key in the door here and know you are not going to be burgled.

    If any Greek people in the village know you are in a fix , they will help you all they can, even though they are struggling to live.

    Bloody councils back in the UK need sorting out, they have had too much power in the past and how dare they dictate to people how to live and what to eat etc.

    We are all born of free will, what we decide is our own desire, how dare anyone dictate to us how to live, what to eat etc.

    In my home town forum i am well known to be against the council, in fact i started calling them " Clowncil" and the towm hall " Clown hall ", they are a running joke, a circus without a ringmaster.


  2. I always wonder whether these Council parasites I mean officials have any idea how much we despise them? Do they care? Probably not. But let's face it they can all get stuffed. Preferably with lard.

    Unfortunately we all have to collaborate with them if we want to keep our jobs nowadays so as a libertarian I feel really guilty at toeing the line.

    Keep on naming and shaming. Good luck.

  3. on a completely different bent concerning Oldham, my great-grandmother & father and some of their 12 children were born in Oldham. They emigrated to Canada in 1910/11. Apparently at least one son and six graves were left behind (only 6 children survived to adulthood).

    I'm thrilled that I can say that because Dad (they were his grandparents) claimed to not know where or when any of his parents/aunts/uncles were born or came from other than England--until this past summer/fall.

  4. Having met a large number of councillors I can say that a lot of them would come up with ideas just like this.

    Public health will be partly responsibility of local authorities soon in Lansley's bulldozing of the NHS so who knows what else will appear to get your goat.

    If this is true (and a big if as it is in the Sun) it wouldn't be Orwellian at all but you libertarians do tend to get a little paranoid on these matters.