Government under serious pressure to drop its opposition to a tax on sugary drinks
After the publication of a hard-hitting report from MPs, saying a 20% levy is an important part of any national strategy for tackling child obesity, the government is facing a lot of pressure to withdraw its opposition to a tax on sugary drinks.
David Cameron has ordered a sugar tax consistently, but headed by the Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, the cross-party health select committee has strongly backed it as one of a range of tough interventions planned for cutting the accessibility to unhealthy foods.
Wollaston wrote in the Guardian that the severe inequalities in childhood obesity and, resulting possibilities of a healthy adult life, have led to the formation of a persuasive case for the prime minister’s action.
Among the most disadvantaged children, a quarter becomes obese by the time they pass primary school, and the rate is double in the case of the most affluent. She said, “We do not believe that this is an attack on low income families as industry lobbyists will no doubt claim, but rather an essential part of trying to reverse the harm caused by these products”.
With the publication of the report, campaigners and health groups queued up in the support of the tax and other regulatory measures, with a hope to influence the child obesity strategy of the government, which is going to be published in next year.
On Monday, a petition for a sugary drinks tax started by Jamie Oliver, who provided proof to the committee, and signed by more than 150,000 people, was the matter of the debate in Westminster Hall.
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