UK Government reiterates sugar tax not an option

Following the presentation of Public Health’s England (PHE) report “Sugar Reduction – The Evidence for Action at the House of Common, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Cameron has stressed again that there is no intention to adopt a tax on sugar.

The report was presented to the House of Commons Health Committee on Tuesday 20 October 2015 by Dr. Alison Tedstone, PHE director of diet and obesity. It was commissioned by the government in order to evaluate the best options to reduce sugar consumption in the country. As fifth recommended action, the report suggests a sugar tax of a minimum of 10-20% on products with high sugar content, claiming that available evidence has shown that fiscal measures are effective. However, Dr Tedstone herself admitted that it was unclear how transitory the tax effect would be due to the lack of long-term data.

British chef Jamie Oliver also participated in the hearing in the Committee, calling for the adoption of a 20% tax on sugar drinks. His proposal was recently strongly criticized by Tim Martin, Chairman of Wetherspoon, who argued that such a tax would cost pubs millions of pounds.

At the end of September 2015, responding to Oliver’s petition for the introduction of a ‘soda-tax’, the UK government had stated that it had no such plans. PM David Cameron had ruled out the fiscal measure as he reportedly saw it as a “blunt weapon” that would hit low-income families. “The Prime Minister’s view remains that he doesn’t see a need for a tax on sugar“, confirmed a source close to him on Tuesday.

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