Green MP Caroline Lucas has admitted she was wrong to propose a blanket tax on beef to reduce consumption.
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference last year, Ms Lucas called on the Government to ‘seriously consider’ the idea of a meat tax, with a particular focus on beef.
But now she has rowed back from the proposal, saying it is ‘not the first best option’ and other measures around education and public procurement should be the primary focus.
“I got into a bit of trouble at the Oxford Farming Conference a few years ago for floating the idea of a meat tax,” she said at the Financial Times Global Food Systems Summit this week (November 3).
“And quite rightly, people asked how we could disaggregate within that tax between different farming methods, some of which can be very positive and some of which are not positive.
“If you were to start looking at some of those more ambitious policy interventions, you would have to make sure they were nuanced and linked to the farming production method, not just fewer pigs or less beef.”
When pressed on the point, Ms Lucas said she would ‘not rule out’ the idea of a meat tax, but warned it should be designed very carefully to ensure it does not have unintended consequences.