Doctors want 20% tax on sugary drinks
Junk food is bad for you. Who knew? Well, doctors (who cares which ones?) would like to see a 20% tax on sugary drinks, as they think it would be a "useful first step" towards reducing obesity. It is thought that a third of the UK will be obese by 2030, so the British Medical Association (BMA) think this tax might put the scuppers on that.
Maybe if someone thought of a way of making other food more tasty than sugar, that might help first.
The BMA report, Food For Thought, warned that bad diet costs the NHS somewhere in the region of £6bn a year, so a 20% tax on all non-alcoholic water based beverages with added sugar (a gobful in itself), including energy drinks, fruit drinks, fizzy pop and all that, could subsidise the sale of fruit and veg.
They also have a pop at the Government for putting far too much emphasis on industry involvement when it comes to developing food and nutrition policy in the UK, thanks to their reliance on public-private partnerships. The BMA reckon that this arrangement provides a platform for companies to promote and enhance their own wares, which is clearly problematic.
The report's author, Professor Sheila Hollins, said: "While sugar-sweetened drinks are very high in calories they are of limited nutritional value and when people in the UK are already consuming far too much sugar, we are increasingly concerned about how they contribute towards conditions like diabetes."
"We know from experiences in other countries that taxation on unhealthy food and drinks can improve health outcomes, and the strongest evidence of effectiveness is for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. If a tax of at least 20% is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people."
"We know that the majority of the UK population, particularly low income households, are not consuming enough fruit and vegetables, so financial measures should also be considered to subsidise their price, which has risen by 30% since 2008.
"This is an important way to help redress the imbalance highlighted previously between the cost of healthy and unhealthy products, which particularly impacts on individuals and families affected by food poverty."