The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) welcomes the Soft Drinks Industry Levy saying that it has successfully encouraged manufacturers to reduce sugar in their products.
Public Health Minister Steve Brine reported that nearly half of the soft drinks market has been proactive in reducing sugar in their products to avoid charges. This has been reflected in the revenue expected from the levy falling by almost half, from over £500m a year when it was first announced to £275m at the end of 2017.
Shirley Cramer is the chief executive of RSPH (a member of Sustain.) She is ‘delighted’ with the sugary drinks tax but wants this move to be part of a more ambitious obesity policy from the Government:
“to tackle the obesity epidemic we face, no single measure will be effective in isolation. The Levy needs to form part of a much wider and more cohesive approach and package of measures over a sustained period of time, including improved regulation to combat the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar foods.”
RSPH is now calling for a wider package of measures, including tougher regulation of advertising and marketing of high fat, salt and sugary foods to children, and for the government to ensure that existing commitments outlined in the current Childhood Obesity Plan, including clearer food labelling, are delivered in full and comprehensively evaluated.
Sustain ran the Children's Health Fund which pioneered the Sugary Drinks Levy in the UK, with hundreds of restaurants adding 10p to their sugary drinks with proceeds going to projects around the UK which improve children’s health.
Sustain have also released a report How the sugary drinks tax was won which charts the developments of the campaign over the last five years.
Sugary Drinks Duty
Sugary Drinks Duty: Support the campaign for a sugary drinks duty, to pay for programmes to improve childrens health and protect the environment they grow up in.
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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.