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City academics join call for sugary drinks tax

City's Centre for Food Policy supports Sustain's campaign which aims to provide a healthier future for the nation's children.
by Ben

City's Centre for Food Policy are among 61 organisations that are backing the recommendations in a major new report launched today, by health pressure group, Sustain, which calls for Budget 2013 to implement a sugary drinks duty.

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', makes three recommendations for inclusion in the Chancellor's next Budget:

  • Introduce a sugary drinks duty for the UK which, for example at 20p per litre, would raise around £1 billion a year.
  • Ring-fence the majority of money raised from a sugary drinks duty for a Children's Future Fund, which could be spent on improving children's health by, for example, providing free school meals, or sustainably produced fruit and vegetable snacks in schools.
  • Give an independent body the responsibility to oversee how the sugary drinks duty is implemented and make sure the revenue is spent effectively.

Sustain propose that the money raised from a duty on sugary drinks should be ring-fenced for a 'Children's Future Fund' to spend on programmes to improve children's health and future well-being as well as a longer-term plan to reform our VAT system to reflect the healthiness of food and drinks and that unsustainable foods also carry a levy.

Professor Tim Lang, Co-Director of the Centre for Food Policy, said: "The food industry and retailers are not doing enough and hiding behind the Government's 'Responsibility Deal' which really ought to be renamed the 'Irresponsibility Deal' as it does little and plays to the lowest common denominator.

"Companies must realise that they need to sell less calories. This soft drinks duty will do that and create a new health-oriented level playing field.

"Government finances are tight yet health costs associated with obesity are high. Somehow society must bridge that gap. This proposal to have a duty on soft drinks does just that."

Find out more about Sustain's campaign.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.