An independent review of food policy in England suggests sugar and salt should be taxed and vegetables should be prescribed.

Leading names in the food industry including Oxfordshire celebrity Prue Leith are supporting the proposals.

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The chef and judge of The Great British Bake Off, who lives near Chipping Norton, said: “There is so much to celebrate about our food, but we do need to act urgently to protect our health and that of the environment.

“This is a compelling and overdue plan of action.

“If the Government adopts it, we will, at last, be putting our food system on the right path to health and prosperity.”

The independent report, commissioned by the Government, in 2019 calls for a sugar and salt reformulation tax to cut their use in products and curb obesity, strokes and heart disease.

A £3 per kg tax on sugar and a £6 per kg tax on salt would incentivise manufacturers to reformulate and reduce their portion sizes, the report says.

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Some money raised by the tax should be spent on addressing the inequalities around food, such as expanding free school meals to another 1.1 million children who need them, funding holiday activity and food clubs, and providing healthy food to low income families.

The report also urges the Government to run trials giving GPs the option to prescribe fruit and vegetables for patients suffering from poor diets or food insecurity.