Sugar is constantly hitting the headlines. Jamie Oliver’s petition to “Introduce a tax on sugary drinks in the UK to improve our children’s health” gathered over 100,000 supporters within two days and eventually received over 151,000 signatories. The level of support triggered the process that led to the UK Parliament holding a debate on 30th November 2015.
If we want to change the eating habits of the nation we have to recognise that diet is complex – no single policy will create a shift and we need to tackle more than just sugar. However, we currently consume three times the amount of sugar we should. A sugar tax as part of a wider package of measures would be an important step in shifting the dietary patterns of the population. Educational messages alone will not achieve the level of reduction we need to see and fiscal and reformulation measures need to be introduced.
Obesity Action Scotland provided a briefing to Scottish MPs. John McNally MP, Phillipa Whitford MP and other Scottish MPs made contributions to the debate and indicated support for a sugar tax for sugar sweetened drinks and other measures. The debate was well attended with cross party input and support. You can watch or read the transcript of the debate.
In 2016 David Cameron will launch his Childhood Obesity Strategy. There is potential for it to contain actions that will have impact across the whole of UK. We await its content with anticipation…..