We don't get disappointed often, but we have to say that we're very disappointed to see that Mr Brown, aka the Chancellor, has not reduced VAT on fruit juices to 5% in his latest budget. We and our drinkers have been campaigning for a year for this simple step which would lead to over 500 million more portions of fruit being consumed each year in the UK. Two thirds of people are still not getting their five a day and we think it’s madness to tax something healthy like fruit juice at 17.5% (sold in supermarkets), especially when this tax isn't applied to hot dogs and pizzas sold in the same shop.
Good news in the budget included a whole host of incentives for the environment, from biofuels to efficient cars and zero carbon homes. But there was little to encourage the health of our nation. As well as lower VAT on juices, we would have liked to have seen free, healthy school meals for all primary school children. A trial in Hull has seen a 90% take up of these healthy lunches and a real change in the behaviour and performance of those kids. But there evidently wasn't enough money left in that red briefcase to help out the rest of the nation's young people. Ho hum.