Government denies plans to ‘dictate’ vegan diet

The government has distanced itself from a paper that proposed a meat tax to “shift dietary choices” towards vegan foods.

The business department, which eventually deleted the research, stressed this was not government policy.

“We have no plans whatsoever to dictate consumer behaviour in this way,” it told the BBC.

“For that reason, our Net Zero Strategy published yesterday contained no such plans.”

READ MORE: Tesco will encourage customers to go vegan in net zero drive

The paper was written by the Cabinet Office’s “Nudge Unit”, which was also behind the 24p levy on sugary drinks.

It recommended taxing “high-carbon foods”, such as sheep or cattle meat, to encourage the public to adopt plant-based diets.

However, it cautioned that an “unsophisticated meat tax would be highly regressive”.

Henry Dimbleby, author of the National Food Strategy, is said to have warned this summer that a meat tax could lead to riots.

However, he said meat consumption would need to fall by a third by the end of the decade for Britain to reach net zero by 2050.

Last month, Tesco revealed it would encourage people to buy more vegan foods to hit its own net zero target.

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