Should the government introduce a new tax on sugary drinks?

It is a question that has generated significant debate over recent days – primarily due to the link between sugary drinks and health related problems.

According to the British Medical Association, the new tax is needed to dissuade people from buying too many sugary drinks and raise extra money to subsidise fresh fruit and vegetables. But the idea has not been met with some trepidation by The Food and Drink Federation who argue that VAT is already included in the price of soft drinks and confectionary and believe introducing a new tax will not achieve the desired outcome.

The amount of sugary drinks consumed by the UK population is having worrying implications on the health of society, causing a number of health related problems that include obesity, rotten teeth and type 2 diabetes.

In the report carried out by the BMA, it warns that a 330ml can of coke can contain up to nine teaspoons of sugar – quantities that the BMA say people are not aware of.

It is estimated that by 2030, 30% of the UK’s population will be obese, making it an area of growing concern for UK health boards and the British Government. The BMA is calling upon the Government to take action by working with the food industry on measures that will reduce the population’s calorie intake and provide people with guidelines on recommended amounts of sugar consumption.

Work in this area has already been undertaken in relation to portion control, reduced levels of sugar in recipes, ready meals and snacks.

This week, the Scientific Advisory Committee are publishing their final report on recommended sugar consumption, which is currently set at 10% of daily energy intake.

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If you are concerned about the amount of sugar in your diet, you can visit NHS Choices for more information and guidance.