Boris Johnson recently suggested that he would review so called “sin taxes” on foods high in salt, fat and sugar.
The sugar tax, or soft drink industry levy, was introduced on 6 April 2018 by the UK Government, as UK Ministers believe that the levy will help to reduce sugar in soft drinks and tackle childhood obesity.
Following Boris’ announcement, Professor Derek Bell, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh explained that the college has “Consistently said that action on the levels of salt, sugar and fat in food and drink must be taken to address the UK’s obesity problem.
He also explained that they “support policies such as the soft drink industry levy because they do just that. The sugar tax tackles the problem at source by saying to the soft drinks industry: ‘you must do more to reduce the high levels of sugar in your products’.
“Far from reversing the sugar tax, the Government must build on what it has already accomplished on reducing the levels of salt, fat and sugar in our food and drink – the public health benefits are clear. Removing the sugar tax would contradict efforts to promote healthy lifestyles.
“We are calling for the sugar tax to be extended to other products such as caffeinated drinks, milkshakes and fruit smoothies. We also want Government to work with retailers to make healthy food more accessible to all.
“But alongside better diet, we must be a more active nation, and the College fully supports initiatives such as the Daily Mile.”
According to HMRC, sugar tax receipts were £153.8 million to year end in October 2018. Updated figures will be released in autumn 2019.