Speaking on Channel 4 Who Made Britain Fat? Jamie Oliver has spoken openly about the opposition – and threats – he faced when campaigning for the sugar tax in 2015. The controversial tax was eventually introduced the following year, to mixed reactions
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Jamie Oliver has spoken candidly about the time in his life when he suffered “multiple break-ins” and digital security hacks.
The 46-year-old TV chef strongly suggested his involvement in the controversial sugar tax campaign was the motivation behind the series of attacks.
Jamie made the shocking revelations to Michael Mosley on his new Channel 4 show Michael Mosley: Who Made Britain Fat?
The doctor-turned-journalist investigates the ever-rising rise in obesity in Britain in the new two-part series and caught up with the TV chef to discuss the sugar tax and the government’s role in promoting healthy living.
Jamie was a big supporter of the sugar tax at the time — he even successfully introduced it to his chain of restaurants across the country before it became official government law.
Speaking to Michael on the Channel 4 show, the father-of-five admitted he had received pressure from food industry companies for publicly campaigning for the controversial tax.
At one point, Michael asked the cooking sensation if he’d ever felt threatened by the companies.
Jamie paused and considered his words carefully, confessing, “I have to be pretty careful about what I say… from the second I started pre-production on Sugar Rush to the moment the sugar tax fell the only time in my life I’ve had multiple break-ins, huge digital security… people hacking our system.”
He then added: “I can’t say it had anything to do with it and I can’t prove it, all I can say is that in the 46 years that I’ve lived on this planet , the only time that ever happened, let alone multiple times, was in that five-month period.”
Jamie often met with then Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne – who also appeared on the show – before the sugar tax was confirmed in 2016.
After the tax was introduced in April 2018, manufacturers of soft drinks containing more than 5g of sugar per 100ml had to pay a levy of 18p per liter to the Treasury, or 24p per liter for sugar levels in excess of 8g per 100ml 100ml
“This donation is one of the most important and iconic moments yet in the fight to protect our children from diet-related diseases,” Jamie wrote on his website at the time.
“This is a progressive levy, forever, which – recall – has hit 69% popularity and will inject much-needed new money into the education system.”
Before the government announced a national levy on the soft drink industry, Jamie tested the levy at his own restaurants, the now-defunct Italian chain Jamie’s.
In June 2015, the cookbook author announced that every drink on his menu with added sugar would cost an extra 10p and that the money would help fund nutrition education and water fountains in schools.
Two years later, it was confirmed that the deterrent had worked when Jamie’s Italian restaurant reported a significant drop in sugary drink sales.
*Michael Mosley: Who made Britain fat? will continue on Wednesday March 16 at 9pm on Channel 4.