Jamie Oliver Backs Sugar Tax
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has called for ministers to introduce a ‘sugar tax’ on fizzy drinks. Talking to the House of Commons Health Committee, Mr Oliver said, “We should be big and bold. Who is running the country? The businesses who are profiting from ill health or us?” His campaign to introduce a tax of 7p per can, which could raise up to £1 billion a year, has been widely backed by the public, with over 150,000 signing an internet petition.
Up until now, ministers have made no attempt to introduce a tax, which campaigners say would be a major step towards addressing problems of childhood obesity. The concentration on fizzy drinks as a major part of the problem is due partly to the fact that the public are generally unaware of how much sugar they contain. Official advice is that no more than 5% of daily calories should come from sugar, the equivalent of six teaspoons – a typical can of fizzy drink contains up to nine teaspoons.
The Department of Health, however, believe that a simple tax would not be effective saying in a statement: “The causes of obesity are complex, caused by a number of dietary, lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors, and tackling it will require a comprehensive and broad approach. As such, the government is considering a range of options for tackling childhood obesity.” It’s understood that Public Health England will publish a childhood obesity strategy in the new year.