Nannies state policies are affecting almost every area of British life, analysis shows.
The UK has the most restrictive tobacco regulations, the second toughest food and drink rules and some of the highest alcohol taxes in Europe, according to a report.
We ranked 11th in the State’s Babysitter Index, one spot higher since our last audit in 2021.
Chris Snowdon, who compiled the rankings for the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, said: “With the UK introducing some of the most careful food policies in the world, it’s no surprise to see it move up the league table against a tough competence.
“The UK scores poorly in every category except e-cigarettes where it is best in show.
“Scotland and Wales lower the overall score by having rock-bottom prices 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 regulations to come, things will only get worse.”
The 2023 Nanny State Index, published today by the IEA and the European Policy Information Center, gives each European country a score out of 100 based on how it regulates private lifestyle choices.
The UK requires plain packaging for tobacco and smoking is prohibited in enclosed public places and workplaces. We have a tax on sugary drinks, as well as food marketing restrictions.
The UK also has the highest alcohol taxes in Europe, while Scotland has minimum prices and bans on non-retail alcohol discounts.
Türkiye was at the top of the ranking, followed by Norway and Lithuania. Germany scored the lowest, making it the most liberal country in Europe, followed by the Czech Republic and Italy.
The rankings come as both the Conservatives and Labor plan more nanny-state measures, including banning “buy two, get one free” offers, extending restrictions on food advertising and expanding the so-called sugar tax. .
The UK is helped in the index by having one of the least restrictive controls on the sale of e-cigarettes in Europe. Alcohol taxes have also fallen in real terms after being frozen for several years, although there is a big tax hike in August.
The report finds no link between stricter drinking, eating, smoking and vaping regulations and longer life expectancy.
Ministers want people to enjoy freedoms, but obesity rates are skyrocketing.
Daily Express columnist and chief oncologist Karol Sikora said officials shouldn’t tell us what to eat. She said: “We are all big and ugly enough to make those decisions for ourselves.”
Professor Sikora urged people to get fit, but added: “We need to give people, and especially children, the information and tools to make their own decisions.”