A new report urges the British government to levy a tax on sugar laden soft drinks in the 2013 budget, to raise £1 billion to pay for free school meals and promote healthier eating amongst children.
A report by British charity Sustain has the backing of over 60 organisations as it calls for a special super tax to be levied on sugary soft drinks, the Guardian reports.
According to the farming charity Sustain, the report, entitled "A Children’s Future Fund – How food duties could provide the money to protect children’s health and the world they grow up in" has the backing of some prestigious organisations, including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Association for the Study of Obesity, Friends of the Earth, the National Heart Forum and the Royal Society for Public Health.
Charlie Powell of Sustain said: "Sugar-laden drinks are mini-health time-bombs, contributing to dental diseases, obesity and a host of life-threatening illnesses which cost the NHS billions each year. We are delighted that so many organisations want to challenge the Government to show it has a public health backbone by including a sugary drinks duty in Budget 2013.
It’s a simple and easy-to-understand measure which will help save lives by reducing sugar in our diets and raising much needed money to protect children’s health.”
Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drink Association (BSDA), argues that raising taxation is unnecessary. He said "soft drinks companies lead the way in committing to further, voluntary action as part of the government's Responsibility Deal calorie-reduction pledge." (BBC)
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "I'm sceptical of legislation … in the end this is a matter of individual choice. It's a matter of people making decisions about their own lives but I don't rule it out."