Sugar tax backed by ‘compelling evidence’
A tax on sugary drinks as part of a series of measures to tackle childhood obesity has been recommended by a House of Commons select committee.
The call follows recent high-profile calls for the measure from the BMA, members of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
However Downing Street confirmed last month that it would not introduce a tax on sugary products, and its strategy to tackle obesity in children has been delayed until next year.
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But the Health Select Committee, chaired by Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, has said there is now “compelling evidence” that a sugar tax would reduce consumption.
Citing the experience in Mexico, the committee highlighted how a 10 per cent tax on sugary drinks saw consumption drop by 6 per cent in the South American country.
Alongside a tax, the Committee recommended tougher controls on advertising and marketing of sugary products, improved education about food and diet and clearer labelling of products showing sugar content in teaspoons, among other measures.
Committee chair Dr Wollaston said: “One third of children leaving primary school are overweight or obese, and the most deprived children are twice as likely to be obese than the least deprived.
“This has serious consequences for both their current and future health and wellbeing and we cannot continue to fail these children. There are many causes and no one single or simplistic approach will provide the answer.
“We therefore urge the Prime Minister to make a positive and lasting difference to children’s health and life chances through bold and wide ranging measures within his childhood obesity strategy.”