Hospital Dr News

Sugar tax introduced in the Budget to tackle childhood obesity

Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled a sugar tax on the makers of soft drinks to help tackle childhood obesity.

The £530m raised by the tax on the sugar content of soft drinks to be spent primary school sports.

Mr Osborne’s sugar tax announcement in the Budget sparked a big fall in the share price of soft drinks makers but it was welcomed by campaigners.

Announcing the move, Mr Osborne said: “I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation: ‘I’m sorry – we knew there was a problem with sugary drinks. We knew it caused disease. But we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing’.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed Mr Osborne’s sugar tax, which will be introduced in two years’ time and will not apply to fruit juices or milk-based drinks.

Sugar tax step forward

Baroness Shelia Hollins, BMA Board of Science Chair, said: “The chancellor’s decision to introduce a new levy on excessive sugar in soft drinks is a welcome step forward and a move called for in the BMA’s recent Food for Thought report. This is an important initiative that could help to begin to address the obesity crisis amongst young children, although the delay in introducing it for two years is disappointing.

“More needs to be done to invest in proper preventive measures that protect people’s lives and the public’s resources. The implementation of minimum alcohol unit pricing is still also badly needed given the billions spent on the impact of excessive alcohol consumption.”

Prof Derek Bell, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, added: “It must be looked at alongside a range of other preventative measures and educational tools to allow consumers to make healthier choices in the interests of their health.

“In the meantime, we must continue to address the many challenges of obesity and the impact they are having on the population’s health – and our health service – before the levy is introduced in 2018.”

The Chancellor also announced a 2% increase in tax on cigarettes, with 3% on rolling tobacco, from 6pm, but beer and cider duty will be frozen as will the levy on whisky and other spirits.

David Buck, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said: “Public health spending is going to fall by at least £600 million in real terms by 2020/21, on top of £200 million cuts this year, so it is essential that this does not result in further cuts to public health budgets in future.”

He revised down the UK’s growth forecast in his eighth Budget and sparked controversy by warning of the risks to the UK economy of EU exit.

He also announced £3.5bn in extra public spending cuts by 2020.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA Council Chair, said: “The political rhetoric does not match the reality on the ground of an NHS in crisis. The government’s funding promises have simply not materialised.”

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation