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Chain Smoking, Binge Drinking Farage - The Saviour of Sports Nutrition?

Oh politics... Regardless of what you may think about it or the politicians, politics and the people who enforce policy have a HUGE impact on absolutely everything.

And on October 1st, 2012, the sports nutrition industry was dealt a blow by the UK government.

VAT was added to supplements including protein shakes, meal replacement drinks and many others derived from milk, which is exempt from tax, prompting many an athlete, bodybuilder and fitness fan to sharpen their pitch forks, light their torches and storm the Houses of Parliament.

Industry leaders lead the onslaught brandishing wordy weapons like “unfair tax” and “damage to small, specialist manufacturers.”

The government retaliated with a grammar grenade of “cracking down on tax loopholes.”

Yet just three years later, the strain on the NHS caused by obesity, diabetes and unhealthy lifestyle choices is immense and, as a result, campaigners are calling for a “sugar tax” to help Britain battle the bulge.

This then raises the question - why was the cost of healthy sports supplements inflated through tax while unhealthy foods remained apparently untouched?

With the May 7th general election looming, the sports nutrition industry is calling – nay, shouting at the top of their lungs (all the while keeping their pitch forks sharp and shiny) - for the 20% hike to be scrapped.

But if this doesn't happen, which of the main political contenders would be best for business, the consumer and our health?

This question is positively gladiatorial in nature (well, for the purposes of this article it is) so without further ado, let the games BEGIN...

Campaign Policies

Conservatives   Conservatives

  • No VAT increase
    This would be good for everyone as the 20% VAT introduced in 2011 would remain the same meaning the price of goods would also stick – boom!
  • Increase in higher rate tax bracket
    Good for the industry as people with greater disposable incomes will be likely to spend more on sports nutrition leading to profits that can be spent on research and development, BUT would they be likely to spend more than they currently do?
  • Reduction in benefit cap
    This could potentially hinder people on benefits buying sports supplements if they currently do - not so boom.
  • David Cameron - Conservatives

    10 Downing Street


    • Reduction in income tax for 24 million people with a 10p tax rate
      This would give those 24 million people more disposable income who then may be more inclined to invest in their health thus leading to potentially more innovation in the industry - and we do like a bit of innovation!
    • Reintroduce 50% tax bracket for earners of £150,000 and above
      This could help fund other taxes that may be reduced, BUT may alienate some business owners, including those in the sports nutrition industry, who may look to move overseas.
    • Possible corporation tax increase
      Reduce the overall profits of companies having a knock on effect by reducing research and development and therefore stunting product innovation. Sports nutrition companies may be forced to increase costs of their products to foot the corporation tax bill.
    • Ed Milliband - Labour

    • Cut spending on gastric bands & boob jobs
      Stop spending £90 million a year on “unessential” operations, which may encourage people to look to the sports nutrition and fitness industries to help them lose weight and get in shape - nothing beats a bit of hard work and dedication...
    • £3 billion extra on NHS
      One of the biggest areas this money is earmarked for happens to be in nutrition bolstering the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, the £3 billion would be funded by the UK leaving the EU.
    • Introduce 35% income tax for earners between £42,285 & £55,000
      By dropping the current 40% rate, this will boost the disposable income of the people who already spend on lifestyle and sports nutrition, BUT will this encourage them to spend even more than they currently do?

    • Raise in personal allowance
      This would increase the point at which you start paying tax resulting in more disposable income for lower earners who may increase spend on sports nutrition and healthier lifestyles - more pennies for your protein!
    • Increase of corporation tax by 8% on UK banks
      A good way to fund a reduction in taxes elsewhere – maybe even sports supplementation, BUT it could lead to a stunt in economic growth as banks may be less inclined to lend to smaller businesses and new companies.
    • Increase in capital gains tax
      People might not wish to invest in smaller companies, including sports supplement companies, as investors will be taxed when selling shares. The result? Stunted innovation.
Nigel Farage - Ukip   Nick Clegg - Liberal Democrats

This is a just a brief look at some of the manifesto points that could impact the sports nutrition industry, but one this is as certain as Jon Snow is stacked...

Obesity and related health issues are putting increasing pressure on the NHS. In fact, the cost of diabetes is expected to rise from £10 billion to £17 billion by 2035.

Something must be done to get people eating healthily by boosting sports nutrition and encouraging fitness.

So tell us, if you were in the political hot seat – how would you better the sports nutrition industry? Let us know of Facebook…

Now... After all that heavy reading - here's a wee video #BallotBallad

Credit: Sky News [BSKYB]