Defra Secretary Michael Gove has said the Government will not introduce a ‘crude’ meat tax in order to meet its climate targets.
Mr Gove was quizzed on the issue by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, who pointed out how important red meat is in a healthy diet, particularly for women and children.
The exchange between Ms Creagh and the Minister took place during Defra questions in the House of Commons last week, and was prompted by a recent report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) which recommended meat consumption be cut by 20 per cent in order to meet a net zero emissions by 2050 target.
The CCC recommendation comes in the wake of two other major reports from the Oxford Martin School and the Nuffield Department of Population Health, which called for a meat tax, and the EAT-Lancet Commission, which proposed a 50 per cent global reduction in red meat consumption.
Mr Gove said: “Sustainable farming, particularly mixed and livestock farming, is a critical part of ensuring we have a healthy environment.
“One thing we absolutely do not want to do is use a crude taxation intervention when it is much more sensible to work with farmers to raise the quality of livestock.
“There are things we can do on how livestock farmers operate which can contribute to reducing emissions, while at the same time maintaining high-quality red meat which is available to people at every price point.”