23 Oct, 2015

David Cameron faces pressure to back sugar tax

The Guardian | Denis Campbell and Rowena Mason | 22 October 2015 

David Cameron is under pressure to reverse his opposition to a sugar tax after ministers published a secret official report that argues a levy of 10-20% is needed to deal with obesity.

The prime minister faced calls to at least consider a tax on high-sugar products after it emerged he had not yet read research by Public Health England – the government’s advisory group – that was controversially delayed by his health secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Downing Street confirmed the government is looking at other measures recommended in the report, including a crackdown on advertising of sugary products and cut-price promotions of sweet food and drink.

However, Cameron’s spokesman said the prime minister had not changed his view that there are “better ways” than a sugar tax to deal with childhood obesity. 

Cameron’s refusal to consider a sugar tax puts him at odds with medical groups, health charities, the Labour party, the campaigning celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and even some Conservative MPs.

A survey for ITV News by the Royal Society of Public Health on Thursday revealed about two-thirds of senior healthcare workers in the UK support a sugar tax.