Patrick Christys: Government diktat on food is a step too far

Patrick Christys
Patrick Christys

Australian beef exports to the Uk could rise 10 fold as well thanks to our new trade deal – it’s not all about vegemite apparently.

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A meat tax should be brought in to tackle climate change and 'help everyone eat more sustainably', experts have told the Government.

A model for a tax on 'high-carbon foods' was drawn up for ministers exploring ways to tackle rising global temperatures.

Other solutions included increasing the 'relative availability' of plant-based food and providing children with 'sustainable defaults' in schools, according to the document published by the Business department's Behavioural Insights Unit – this is like one of Jamie Oliver’s special dreams isn’t it.

That man won’t rest until every turkey twizzler has been banned and children are made to choose between a tofu salad and miso soup.

But hang on a minute – the government is now going to dictate what we’re eating to try to push a green agenda that, frankly, I couldn’t care less about? Nope. Not happening.

This is a bridge too far. We all know what plants are, where we can find them, and that we can eat them if we want. I don’t need to be nudged towards the mushrooms by Boris Johnson, a man who looks like he’s four fifths foie gras, one fifth wheel of cheese.

And this business of ‘helping everyone eat more sustainably’, just means pricing people out of the meat market. So, basically, if you’ve got money you’ll be able to eat steak, but if you’re living on a council estate in Bognor Regis, it’s just kale for you – but there’s a false economy here isn’t there. Because vegan food is actually quite pricey.

Pre-prepared vegan food like bean burgers and whatever fungus they compress into the shape of bacon and pump full of artificial flavours to make it taste like a rotting pig’s backside is more expensive.

So you can eat vegan cheaply, if you’ve got the time in the day to prepare the meal. Well I doubt many single, working mums have enough time to prepare a medley of avocado and quinoa infused fusilli.

But there is a more serious point - A number of options were included for introducing the meat levy - including a 'producer or retailer-facing tax' or a charge for beef and sheep farmers as well as milk producers.

So we’re hammering our own farmers. We hear a lot about Big Pharma at the moment, what about the little farmers?

James Rebanks, a farmer and author of a book on sustainability, said the tax was a 'massively stupid idea'.

The NFU says farms could be put out of business.

We’ve just signed a trade deal with New Zealand that will see us import loads of lamb - 39,000 tonnes of lamb was imported into the UK from New Zealand in 2020, worth £212.5 million.

We are going to open our markets to the rest of the world, and we are not going to expect the same high rules on animal welfare and environmental protection that we have here. That will put farmers out of business

Australian beef exports to the Uk could rise 10 fold as well thanks to our new trade deal – it’s not all about vegemite apparently.

So, I’m confused. Are we supposed to be eating meat or not? I think, reading between the lines, we are supposed to be eating meat, just not British meat…

Well that’s terrible. Back British Farmers. Come on, these people are proper Brits. They cultivate our land, they supply our shops, they keep our population fed, they also work incredibly hard.

When I go into the shops I want to see more British produce, I want to see good British beef on the shelves, British lambs. I want to see British pounds, in British farmer’s pockets!