Call for soft drink sugar tax
20p per litre levy to fund free school food
Food and farming charity Sustain today called for a 20p-per-litre levy on soft drinks to be included in this year's Budget.
They say it would raise £1bn a year in duty to fund free fruit and meals in schools to improve children's health.
More than 60 organisations, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, are backing the recommendation.
The Sustain chairman, Mike Rayner, of Oxford University's department of public health, added: "Just as we use fiscal measures to discourage drinking and smoking and help prevent people from dying early, there is now lots of evidence that the same approach would work for food."
"This modest proposal goes some way towards making the price of food reflect its true costs to society."
"Our obesity epidemic causes debilitating illness, life-threatening diseases and misery for millions of people. It is high time government did something effective about this problem."
Gavin Partington, the director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "Obesity is a serious and complex problem, but a tax on soft drinks, which contribute just 2% of the total calories in the average diet, will not help address it."
He said companies are already playing their part in the fight against obesity because 61% of soft drinks "now contain no added sugar".
- In the UK, one in four adults is classified as obese and one in three children is already obese or overweight before they finish primary school
- If you want to cut down, try switching to drinking pure juice diluted with fizzy water, diet fizzy drinks, milk, no-added-sugar squash or water