Restrictive tobacco regulations, second toughest food and drink rules, and high alcohol taxes are some of the reasons that have pushed the UK’s rank up in the recently released list of 2023 Nanny State Index.
UK has been ranked 11th worst in terms of lifestyle freedoms, states a recent analysis, saying that nanny-state policies are touching almost every area of British life. The rank has gone up one spot since the last ranking in 2021.
The UK is ranked the worst country in Europe to be a smoker due to its high taxes, plain packaging and smoking ban. It has the second most restrictive food and drink policies including a tax on sugary drinks and food marketing restrictions.
And Britons also face among the highest alcohol taxes in Europe, with Scotland enforcing minimum alcohol pricing and banning some alcohol discounts.
Turkey is the most restrictive place to eat, drink, smoke and vape in Europe, while Germany is the most liberal. The league table gives each European country a score out of 100 according to how it regulates private lifestyle choices.
Overall, Turkey takes the top spot in the ranking, followed by Norway and Lithuania in second and third respectively. Germany gets the lowest score, making it the most liberal country in Europe, followed by Czechia and Italy.
Report author Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the IEA, predicts that “things will only get worse” with more nanny state regulations on the way. It says the UK’s overall rating is significantly improved by a “common-sense approach” to e-cigarettes, which are the least restrictive in Europe.
Furthermore, the UK’s alcohol duties have fallen in real terms after being frozen for several years although that is set to change with a large tax hike in August.
“With the UK introducing some of the world’s most nannying policies on food, it’s no surprise to see it rising up the league table against stiff competition. The UK scores poorly in every category except e-cigarettes where it is the best in show.
“Scotland and Wales drag down the overall score by having minimum pricing for alcohol, and the UK as a whole is the worst place in Europe to be a smoker. With alcohol taxes rising sharply this year and more food regulation to come, things will only get worse,” reports quoted Snowdon as saying.