Jamie Oliver says “Pull your finger out, Australia” after UK soft drink tax approved

It’s been a long few years for celebrity chef and healthy eating campaigner Jamie Oliver but finally, the UK government will

It’s been a long few years for celebrity chef and healthy eating campaigner Jamie Oliver but finally, the UK government will introduce a tax on soft drinks.

Oliver took to social media to tell his fans after the decision.

“Pull your finger out Australia,” Oliver urged in a video.

“Surprisingly and fascinatingly we’ve seen [UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George] Osborne come out with a bold, brave tax… I’m shocked but in all the right ways, I’m humbled actually,” he said.

“This will travel right around the world, to Canada, to Australia,” he predicted.

Mr Osborne made the announcement in Wednesday’s budget and said it was being introduced to improve children’s health.

“I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation… I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with sugary drinks. We knew it caused disease. But we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing,” he told the House of Commons.

Britain’s tax on sugary drinks will begin in 2018 which the government hopes will give manufacturers time to reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks.

Under the laws, drinks with more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres will be taxed at a higher rate however pure fruit juices and milkshakes will not be subject to the levy.

It will generate more than $1 billion for their economy, however over here in Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has kept mum on whether it is on his Budget agenda this year.

Jamie Oliver is hoping so: he told us to pull our fingers out!

On the Live Facebook streaming, the chef prefaced his comments with this caption:

“The food revolution is underway. This feels like a victory for Britain’s children and for everyone who has campaigned so hard for a tax on sugary sweetened drinks. I would love the money to go to food education as well as sport but I think we have to applaud the Chancellor for taking this extremely important, bold step. I hope that this bravery will continue to form a part of this Government’s attitude to dealing with obesity and will influence the Prime Minister’s Childhood Obesity strategy later in the year”.

In the video, streamed live to his 5 million fans, Oliver said “I didn’t actually know we would get it” despite scientific evidence.

The celebrity chef had some strong words for our Government after he successfully campaigned for a soft drink tax in the UK.

Do you agree with Jamie? Should there be a soft drink tax in Australia?

  1. Joy Ware  

    Great work Jamie Oliver, I congratulate you. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of harmful sugar and other unnecessary ingredients in food and drinks.

  2. Yann Carol  

    Shame his restaurants don’t reflect his own values….seems they are exempt. So put your values where your restaurants are Jamie…the raspberry drink I had recently at his Canberra restaurant was so sugary and sweet, not the hint of real raspberry I was hoping for – it was like undiluted cordial.

  3. I agree 100% the sugar and aspartame in these drinks is more injurious to health than alcohol.
    I should carry a tax equivalent to the percentage of sugar or aspartame that it contains.
    Sugar causes obesity and diabetes while aspartame is carcinogenic.

    • Michael Siddle  

      It is utterly moronic to suggest that sugar and aspartame are even remotely as dangerous as alcohol only someone withe brain of a gnat would suggest that sugar leads to domestic violence, coward punches, cirrohsis, and deaths and injury in motor vehicle accidents.
      Aside from anything else this is just a tax grab. If they were serious they would have put a levy on fruit juices and milk drinks with more than 8 grams of sugar because they are just as dangerous and probably in even higher quantities. What about yoghurt, chocolate, cakes, lollies and ice crea? Jamie Oliver is also an idiot and will achieve nothing through this other than to ruin a few businesses and cost jobs. It is not the role of Governments to dictate to people what they eat. Only dictators and despots do that.

  4. Michael Siddle  

    Only extremely foolish people would fail to see this as anything other than a pathetic tax grab since fruit juice and flavoured milk are excluded. Sugar IS sugar. They are no different whether they come from sugar cane, beets, fruit or honey.
    The main problem is this… fruit juice contains no fiber and is very high in sugar.

    Take a look at the breakdown for a 12 ounce (350 ml) portion of Coca Cola and apple juice:

    Coca Cola: 140 calories and 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons).
    Apple juice: 165 calories and 39 grams of sugar (9.8 teaspoons).
    This is the ugly truth about fruit juice… most types contain a similar amount of sugar as a sugar-sweetened beverage, sometimes with even more total calories!

    Bottom Line: Fruit juice contains some nutrients, but less compared to many plant foods. It contains no fiber and is just as high in sugar and calories as most sugar-sweetened beverages.
    This is just another example of personal freedom being stripped away by the State.

    • Frank  

      ‘Only extremely foolish people’ – ad hominem attacks tend to identify the commenter as conservative, prejudiced and relative ignorant – failing a convincing argument, start by insulting the other as a person.

      I believe I’ve read that the US allowed flavoured milk after research showed the benefits of school children drinking milk were considered to outweigh the negatives of the added sugar – in that case. Not sure about fruit juice – but it tends to be a relatively natural product compared to CocaCola which tends to have massive amounts of sugar to balance the high acidity.

  5. Warren Whittle  

    I am with Michael Siddle. Taxing the product will not contribute towards reducing obesity, but will only increase government coffers. Why not treat it more like tobacco, and move towards banning it from sale?
    And, Yann Carol, you are spot on the money also.

  6. foureyes  

    I think it would take more than this to humble Jamie Oliver, who clearly sees himself as the saviour of the world in terms of healthy eating. It is possible to campaign for what you believe in without being quite such a self-congratulatory pain! And as another poster has said, he needs to look at his own food – in many cases high in grains and sugars.

  7. Warren Whittle  

    Jamie Oliver – put your finger back in! And whilst you’re at it, pull your blasted head in! What a bloody hypocrite! Sells sugar loaded junk in his restaurant, and at what percentage mark up, and then preaches to us lesser mortals about diet.
    I can remember the chubby version of this twit from not so long ago, jubbly.

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