Chocolate tax: doctors don't bite

Scottish GPs have voted against a tax on chocolate, which was proposed to help fight obesity.

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

The plan, which suggested hitting chocolate lovers with a tax similar to those which infuriate smokers and drinkers, was proposed by Dr David Walker, a Lanarkshire GP. He believes chocolate had lost its status as a treat, and become a harmful addiction for some.

He may have a point, not least in its contribution to conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure, but surely a sweeping tax on one of life's simpler, less harmful pleasures would be the wrong thing to introduce at a time like this. The last thing the nation's embattled workers need right now is to have to dig out the calculator before committing to that little three o'clock lift.

It seems Walker's peers share that view. Doctors at a BMA conference in Clydebank defeated his motion by two votes.

While such a tax is never really likely to be applied, chocolate makers will nevertheless be happy if the notion now disappears as swiftly and easily as a packet of After Eights on Christmas day. With the economy the way it is, the likes of Scotland's own Tunnock's would hardly welcome the onset of punitive taxes with shouts of ‘bring it on'. Indeed, such laws are likely to induce more heart trouble across confectionary boardrooms than any amount of mid-meeting Minstrels.

We don't mean to dismiss the issue of obesity, which is of course a huge issue. But we can't help thinking there are other more important factors involved. With a decent diet and plenty of exercise, the odd chocolate really isn't going to do you much harm. Now, where's that celery...

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