Should there be a 20% tax on sugary drinks to fight obesity?

Should there be a 20% tax on sugary drinks to fight obesity?

It’s no secret that there can be an unhealthy amount of sugar in drinks, even those that we might not expect. However did you know that some of the popular soft drink options can contain up to TWENTY teaspoons?

Well the table below provided by the Daily Mail shows just how much sugar goes into both fizzy and soft drinks and you may just be shocked!























 As a result of this, doctors are demanding that the government issue a 20% tax on sugary drinks in order to help fight obesity.

The British Medical Association have found that poor diet and unhealthy drinks and snacks costs the NHS £6billion a year and claims up to 70,000 lives and are now urging Downing Street to address this issue.

In its Food for Thought report, the BMA warns that a 330ml can of pop is likely to contain up to nine teaspoons of sugar that are simply “empty calories”.

The report said taxing specific food groups – such as the sugar drinks tax introduced in Mexico – were shown to cut consumption.

Doctors are proposing that in order for this theory to work, a tax of at least 20% would need to be introduced on fizzy drinks in order to make customers think twice about purchasing them. The report also states that the extra revenue should be used to make fruit and veg cheaper as it seems low-income families are unable to stock up on as much fruit and veg.

Dr Shree Datta, from the British Medical Association, told the BBC: “I think it is a massive problem illustrated by the fact obesity is creeping up. We’re looking at 30% of the UK population being obese by the year 2030, a large extent of that is due to the amount of sugar we’re actually consuming without realising. The biggest problem is a lot of us are unaware of the amount of sugar we are consuming on a day-to-day basis.”

To some this may sound like a simple solution to an ever growing health problem, however not everyone agrees with the theory.

Ian Wright, director-general of the Food and Drink Federation told the BBC: We share the BMA’s concerns about the health of young people in the UK.”

However, it said many foods were already taxed at 20% through VAT such as soft drinks and confectionery.

He added: “Where additional taxes have been introduced they’ve not proven effective at driving long-term, lasting change to diets.”

It seems clear that people’s opinions on this topic seems to be divided, and if the BMA are successful in their pitch to Downing Street, prices on our sweet treats could rise considerably in the near future. But do you think the tax increase is a good idea?


A sugar levy will be introduced on soft drinks it has been announced today. It will come into force in 2018 to give the industry time to adjust, the Chancellor says. The £520m expected to be raised will be used to help support school sport.

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