News / Sugary Drinks Duty

A sugary drinks duty would save London £39m in healthcare costs

Children's Food Campaign has published figures showing that the introduction of a 20 pence per litre duty on sugary drinks would benefit Londoners' health and save the NHS money.

The Children’s Food Campaign has today published figures showing that the introduction of a 20 pence per litre duty on sugary drinks would benefit Londoners’ health, as well as save the NHS and public health budgets £39 million over twenty years.

The research, published in association with University of Liverpool academic Brendan Collins and FoodActive, shows that if the UK government introduced a 20 pence per litre sugary drinks duty, then the impact in London over twenty years would be to:

  • reduce the cases of diabetes by over 6300
  • prevent over 1100 cases of cancer
  • reduce strokes and cases of coronary heart disease by over 4300
  • improve the quality of life for thousands of residents

The London boroughs set to gain the most savings and health benefits from a sugary drinks duty include Croydon, Enfield, Southwark, Bromley, Newham and Lewisham.  In addition, the impact on calorie reduction will be greatest in boroughs such as Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Barking and Dagenham and Haringey, which have the highest proportion of demographics who consume the most sugary drinks.

Londoners can view the impact a sugar drinks duty would have on their own borough, by using the interactive tool on: www.childrenshealthfund.org.uk

Soft drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 4-10 years and teenagers.  The Children’s Food Campaign is calling for the government to introduce a 20p per litre sugary drinks duty to reduce sugar consumption.  The Campaign proposes that any revenue generated would be used to set-up a Children’s Health Fund, paying for programmes to improve children’s health and protect the environment they grow up in. The Children’s Food Campaign plans to launch figures for the impact of a sugary drinks duty on the rest of England in early 2015.

Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, said:

“A duty on sugary drinks of 20 pence per litre would be the most practical and effective way of tackling a significant source of unnecessary calories and sugar in children and young people’s diets. Mexico, France and Hungary have already introduced a sugary drinks duty, and their citizens are reaping the benefits. In this country, CitizensUK, trade unions and dozens of other organisations all support a duty. Our politicians can no longer hide behind the idea that it wouldn’t be popular, or is an untried policy. We urge London’s mayor and council leaders to include a sugary drinks duty in their review of how London might manage devolved taxation powers, and to make the case to Westminster for the introduction of such a duty nationally.”

Rosie Boycott, Chair of the London Food Board, said:

“Sweetened fizzy drinks offer nothing to a city already suffering high levels of obesity-related diseases and dental decay. It would be good for our health and the environment if we drank less of them. In many areas, London has already been leading the charge in the battle to eat well. But we also need national action to ensure firms contribute to the overall health bill and encourage consumers to swap to healthier products.  That is why we need a tax on sugary drinks.”

Lord Darzi, Chair of the London Health Commission, in his introduction to the ‘Better Health for London – report of the London Health Commission, stated:

“as the Chair of the London Health Commission, as a doctor, and as a father, I give my full and unequivocal support to calls for the introduction of a national sugar tax.”

CitizensUK, the alliance of local community organising groups, including North London Citizens, South London Citizens, West London Citizens and TELCO, state in their manifesto for 2015:

“We want our children and grandchildren to have the best chance to live a healthy life. Yet across our member schools we are finding that increasing numbers of children are showing early signs of heart disease, diabetes and poor mental health. We are calling for a Children’s Health Fund to enable a step-change in early intervention. Since there is no spare money in the NHS, we are calling for a duty on sugary drinks, which will itself reduce diabetes and obesity.”

Professor Damien Walmsley, British Dental Association’s scientific adviser said:

"A tax on sugary drinks and food is a no brainer. It's a scandal that one in eight of our three-year olds currently experiences tooth decay. It's time we tackled the problem at source.” 

Contact: For further information and interviews, please contact Malcolm Clark on 0203 5596 777 or 07733322148, or malcolm@sustainweb.org 

Websites: www.childrenshealthfund.org.uk and www.childrensfood.org.uk

Notes:

  1. Data: for the full table of the impact of a sugary drinks duty in each London Borough, see appendix below. This data can also be sent to you in Word or Excel format.  Please request from malcolm@sustainweb.org
  2. Children’s Health Fund and the campaign for a sugary drinks duty - for further information, see www.childrenshealthfund.org.uk 
  3. The Sugary Drinks Duty Impact Model

    The model used to show the impact of a 20% duty on sugar sweetened beverages was created by Brendan Collins, Research Fellow in Health Economics, University of Liverpool. He presented the research to the Society for Social Medicine, 58th Annual Scientific Meeting, Keble College, University of Oxford, on 12 September 2014.

    The model shows the impact of a possible sugary drinks duty on rates of obesity and obesity-related disease over 20 years for each local authority. Broadly speaking, as a duty makes sugary drinks more expensive, so consumption reduces. As the number of daily calories consumed reduces, so obesity rates then fall. This then leads to a decrease in obesity-related disease incidence and the associated quality adjusted life year loss.

    The model only considers the effect of the duty itself, so any benefits coming from the expenditure of the money raised from the duty (via a Children’s Health Fund or similar) could potentially further increase the impact and health improvements. The Children’s Food Campaign plans to launch figures for the impact of a sugary drinks duty on the rest of England in early 2015.

    An interactive version of the model, along with data sources and methodology, can be viewed at www.childrenshealthfund.org.uk 

     
  4. Food Active

Food Active is a Healthy Weight Campaign established by the North West Directors of Public Health to address the significant levels of obesity in the region. By providing support, advice and leadership, it aims to encourage the development of evidence based local and national policies promoting healthier weight. In June 2014, Food Active published the impact of a sugary drinks duty on the North West.

Children’s Food Campaign acknowledges the support of Food Active, who funded Brendan Collin’s research and also the creation of the online interactive model.

 

Appendix – the impact of a sugary drinks duty in each London Borough

This table is ordered in order of greatest healthcare cost savings over a 20 year period, by Borough.

Area Name

Total health cost savings/ 20 years (£) 

Estimated change in diabetes cases / 20 year period

Estimated change in stroke/heart disease cases / 20 year period

Estimated change in bowel cancer  cases / 20 year period

Estimated QALYs (Quality Adjusted Life Years) gained / 20 years

Reduction in calories per day per person

Population size
(all residents over 4 years old)

Croydon LB

£2,008,482

-329.78

-224.77

-58.96

5547

6.80

345,964

Enfield LB

£1,608,894

-264.17

-180.05

-47.23

4444

6.80

297,310

Southwark LB

£1,570,138

-257.81

-175.71

-46.09

4337

6.86

275,917

Bromley LB

£1,560,834

-256.28

-174.67

-45.82

4311

6.54

297,396

Newham LB

£1,556,226

-255.52

-174.16

-45.68

4298

7.15

292,332

Lewisham LB

£1,522,340

-249.96

-170.36

-44.69

4205

6.84

263,370

Havering LB

£1,493,069

-245.15

-167.09

-43.83

4124

6.52

228,295

Brent LB

£1,443,318

-236.98

-161.52

-42.37

3986

6.86

295,680

Lambeth LB

£1,431,049

-234.97

-160.15

-42.01

3952

6.86

292,917

Barnet LB

£1,424,914

-233.96

-159.46

-41.83

3936

6.70

341,972

Hillingdon LB

£1,418,850

-232.97

-158.78

-41.65

3919

6.78

246,823

Bexley LB

£1,409,462

-231.43

-157.73

-41.37

3893

6.64

221,860

Ealing LB

£1,383,283

-227.13

-154.80

-40.60

3821

6.82

319,541

Redbridge LB

£1,380,657

-226.70

-154.51

-40.53

3813

6.86

266,771

Waltham Forest LB

£1,271,556

-208.78

-142.30

-37.32

3512

6.87

245,081

Greenwich LB

£1,235,986

-202.94

-138.32

-36.28

3414

6.86

242,690

Hackney LB

£1,162,809

-190.93

-130.13

-34.13

3212

6.96

236,083

Barking and Dagenham LB

£1,144,284

-187.88

-128.06

-33.59

3160

6.95

175,209

Haringey LB

£1,137,261

-186.73

-127.27

-33.38

3141

6.92

244,095

Hounslow LB

£1,123,191

-184.42

-125.70

-32.97

3102

6.83

242,154

Wandsworth LB

£1,071,919

-176.00

-119.96

-31.46

2961

6.67

289,827

Tower Hamlets LB

£1,054,143

-173.08

-117.97

-30.94

2911

7.02

246,639

Sutton LB

£1,032,077

-169.46

-115.50

-30.29

2851

6.68

182,806

Harrow LB

£1,010,937

-165.99

-113.13

-29.67

2792

6.73

229,100

Merton LB

£947,014

-155.49

-105.98

-27.80

2616

6.72

189,531

Westminster City of LB

£915,352

-150.30

-102.44

-26.87

2528

6.65

212,808

Camden LB

£914,849

-150.21

-102.38

-26.85

2527

6.65

213,714

Islington LB

£865,339

-142.08

-96.84

-25.40

2390

6.77

200,698

Hammersmith and Fulham LB

£683,918

-112.30

-76.54

-20.08

1889

6.69

170,056

Kingston upon Thames LB

£651,279

-106.94

-72.88

-19.12

1799

6.67

154,653

Richmond upon Thames LB

£642,366

-105.47

-71.89

-18.86

1774

6.58

177,467

Kensington and Chelsea LB

£620,529

-101.89

-69.44

-18.21

1714

6.52

148,531

City of London LB

£29,214

-4.80

-3.27

-0.86

81

6.47

7351

         

 

 

 

Total for London

£38,725,538.59

-6,358.51

-4,333.73

-1,136.72

106,957.88

6.76

7,794,641

Notes

  1. Quality-adjusted life year (QALY) is a measure of the state of health of a person in which the benefits, in terms of length of life, are adjusted to reflect the quality of life. One QALY is equal to 1 year of life in perfect health. It is often measured in terms of the person's ability to perform the activities of daily life, free from pain and mental disturbance. 
  2. Borough population size is based on Office of National Statistics estimates data for 2012.
 

Published 16 Dec 2014

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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