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Friday, October 23, 2015

Cameron's resistance to sugar tax strikes a sour note

Pressure on David Cameron to back a tax on sugar is growing following the intervention of Jamie Oliver. He has based his claims on "the evidence of numerous doctors and scientists".

One of those scientists is  Dr Alison Tedstone, who is the director of diet and obesity for Public Health England. She told MPs this week that evidence suggests that a sugar tax could be effective at curbing childhood obesity.

The danger is of course that the price of basic foods go up, thus hitting the poorest familes. After all this is not just about fizzy drinks and sweets.  The average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year, that is the equivalent of approximately seventy five one kilogram bags or 33 tablespoons each day. The reason for that is the amount of sugar in processed food.

My view then is that by all means tax sugar, but target that tax at the unhealthiest foods such as fizzy drinks and sweets, whilst looking to regulate the amount of sugar in other processed food.

This is a key agenda but it is important that we get it right and that in doing so we both reduce obesity and keep the cost of living for poorer families down.

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