Cameron rejects calls for 'sugar tax' after major report

The Prime Minister has rejected calls from health experts for a tax on sugary food and drinks, despite a major report saying it could help tackle the UK's obesity crisis.

Downing Street said David Cameron had not read the Public Health England study suggesting a 10-20% tax, but added that he does not "see the need" for taxation on sugar.

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Jamie Oliver urges government to introduce 'sugar tax'

Jamie Oliver urged the government to introduce a sugar levy. Credit: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Jamie Oliver has urged the government to be "bold and brave" and introduce a tax on high-sugar food.

The celebrity chef said he was "excited and relieved" to see the release of a major study by Public Health England, which backed the measure along with others such as a limit on advertising of sugary goods.

"The ball is firmly in the government's court," Oliver said. "There has never been a better time than now. Lets tackle this like parents not politicians." The Prime Minister has already rejected the introduction of taxation on sugary goods, despite the health body's recommendations being backed by a number of clinicians.

Cameron rejects 'sugar tax' without reading report

David Cameron has rejected calls for a tax on sugary food and drinks. Credit: PA

David Cameron has rejected calls for new taxation on sugary food and drinks but has not yet read a major report making the case for its introduction, Number 10 says.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "The Prime Minister's view remains that he doesn't see a need for a tax on sugar."

The study was originally pushed back by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who had planned to release it with a Government strategy on obesity later in the year.

Health experts urge government to consider sugar tax

The report recommended a 10-20% tax on sugary goods. Credit: PA

A number of health experts have urged the government to consider introducing a sugar tax, after a Public Health England report recommended the measure. Reacting to the report, Professor Sheila Hollins, chairwoman of the British Medical Association's board of science said: "Doctors are increasingly concerned about the impact of poor diet, which is responsible for up to 70,000 deaths a year, and has the greatest impact on the NHS budget, costing £6 billion annually.

"We urge the Government to give real and urgent consideration to Public Health England's recommendations including restricting the marketing of high-sugar products, reducing promotions of sugary food and drink, and introducing a 10-20% sugar tax," she said.

the tax level Public Health England said should be introduced on sugary goods

Julian Hamilton-Shield, professor of diabetes and etabolic endocrinology at the University of Bristol, said: "As a doctor who has spent over 15 years treating morbid childhood obesity and its consequences, I welcome this report that targets a series of levers designed to reduce sugar consumption in the whole population but more importantly children.

"I especially welcome the suggestions for reducing price promotion of sugar-containing foods, reduced targeting of children through advertising and the suggested taxation of sugar-containing beverages which should be at the higher level suggested of 20%."


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