UK politics live: minister suggests government will reject plan for £3bn sugar and salt tax | Politics


Good morning. As Patrick Butler and Damian Carrington report, this morning an independent review commissioned by the government is proposing a £3bn sugar and salt tax as part of a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to break Britain’s addiction to junk food, cut meat consumption by nearly a third and help tackle climate change. The review, the National Food Strategy, is here, and here is our report on what it says.

But is there any chance of the government accepting its central recommendation? It does not sound like it. This is what Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, told LBC this morning when asked about the proposed new tax on salt and sugar.

I think you have to be very cautious before putting burdens on members of the public, particularly those on lower incomes. I do think you have to be very careful about going down that route because I don’t want to make life more difficult for people on low incomes.

Jenrick also said the government would be considering the recommendations before publishing its own plans in the coming months.

In private, government insiders are reportedly even more negative about the recommendations. In his London Playbook briefing for Politico this morning Alex Wickham writes: “There was a chorus of angry voices in government and across the Tory party last night insisting that his top line recommendations would be rejected and were considered completely unworkable by ministers.

Here is the agenda for the day.

Around 11am: Boris Johnson gives his speech on levelling up in the Midlands. He will also do a Q&A afterwards with journalists.

12pm: Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, speaks at the Institute for Government about devolution and the union.

12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.

2pm: Public Health England publishes its latest weekly Covid surveillance report.

Also, Sir Keir Starmer starts a two-day visit to Blackpool. It is the beginning of his summer “on the road” which the party says is about “taking Labour’s offer out to communities across the UK”.

Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news recently but today I will most be focusing on Johnson’s speech and on what Starmer has to say. For more coronavirus developments, do follow our global Covid live blog.

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