Introduce tax on sugary drinks, say MPs

Posted On: 
30th November 2015

The Government should introduce a tax on sugary drinks as part of a series of measures to tackle childhood obesity, an influential group of MPs has said.

Downing Street confirmed last month that it would not introduce a tax on sugary products despite widespread calls from activists including chef Jamie Oliver.

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Number 10 also announced that the Government’s planned strategy to tackle obesity in children has been delayed until next year.

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% tax on sugary drinks saw consumption drop by 6% 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.”