The Netherlands: wide political consensus against sugar tax

The Netherlands: wide political consensus against sugar tax

A broad consensus against the introduction of a sugar tax in the Netherlands has emerged from parties across the political spectrum.

Asked about their position on the issue following the debate in the UK, some Dutch politicians expressed opposition to changing citizens’ behavior through taxation: “People should decide for themselves what they eat and drink“, said Erik Ziengs, from the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). A view shared also by Reinette Klever, Member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Party for Freedom (PVV), according to whom a sugar tax would be “patronizing“. Others, like Hanke Bruins Slot of the CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal), stressed that Sugar is a natural product”.

The Socialist Party, which is working towards less sugar and salt in products, has ruled out taxation as an effective measure, preferring instead to push manufacturers to use less sugar and salt.

More strikingly, even parties in favour of a sugar tax like the Labour Party (PvdA) do not have a clear proposal on how to make it technically feasible. “It would mean a lot of hassle”, admitted Ed Groot, Member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the PvdA.

The full article (in Dutch) can be found at: http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/24811269/__Suikertaks_niet_in_zicht__.html

Dutch experts question sugar tax effects on health

Dutch experts question sugar tax effects on health

When asked to comment on Jamie Oliver’s controversial ‘sugar tax’, Dutch experts expressed their doubts regarding the efficacy of such measure when it comes to improving public health.

A tax on sugar barely makes sense because consumption may decrease only if prices substantially increase, according to Astrid Postma-Smeets, nutrition and health expert at the Voedingscentrum (Dutch Nutrition Centre). The Nutrition Center is the authority that provides consumers with independent and science-based information on healthy, safe and more sustainable food choices. Instead of campaigning for a ‘sugar-tax’, the Centre is convinced that the best approach to obesity is prevention and education.

Also Jos Look, board member of the Dutch Obesity Society, has his doubts on taxation, especially on soft drinks: “Almost 51 percent of the Dutch population is overweight and more than a third of them is severely overweight. And that is certainly not only because of a Coke. You can find added sugars in everything: even in packaged fresh fruit salad”.

 

The original article published in De Telegraaf can be found here.