The municipality of Amsterdam has called on the cabinet to reduce VAT on fruit and vegetables

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In Rutte IV’s coalition agreement, plans were announced to bring VAT on fruit and vegetables to zero. The plans seem to have been put on hold after reports emerged that it was legally risky and difficult to implement. That is why the municipality reiterates the positive effects of VAT reduction in combating overweight.

The call, signed by dozens of councilors and scientists, called postponing or canceling the plans ‘highly imprudent’. ‘Don’t push this hot potato off the plate any longer, the reduction in VAT on fruit and vegetables is effective, feasible and has public support.’

In a government-commissioned report, the effectiveness of the measure was indeed disputed. In addition to procedural objections, loss of VAT revenue has also been mentioned. The call from the municipality focuses on what health benefits this measure can provide in the long term: ‘more happiness in life, lower health costs for healthy people, higher labor force participation and less disability’.

‘The cabinet’s hesitation is incomprehensible’

Amsterdam Alderman Marjolein Moorman (Poverty) previously said it would be incomprehensible if the hack projects did not succeed. “This is one of the most popular measures in the coalition agreement, but the Cabinet still seems reluctant. It is understandable, because it is vital that healthy food becomes affordable and accessible to all.

By 2021, the Council for Public Health and Society (RVS) already thought the government should be doing more to promote healthy eating and combat unhealthy behaviour. The advisory panel supported a reduction in VAT on fruit and vegetables, a ban on the promotion of unhealthy foods and the introduction of a sugar tax, which the cabinet subsequently included in the coalition agreement.

The municipality has called on the cabinet to follow the example of countries such as Spain, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, which have recently introduced VAT reductions on fruits and vegetables. ‘Hassle-free and with results.’

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