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Professor Simon Capewell is Vice-President for policy for the UK Faculty of Public Health and a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University. Professor Capewell is also a trustee for the UK Health Forum for Heart of Mersey and a founder member of Action on Sugar.
“In this year’s Budget Chancellor George Osborne announced the introduction of a ‘Sugar Tax’ on soft drinks. It will come into force in 2018 to give the industry time to adjust. The £520m expected to be raised will be used to help support school sport.
“This is certainly a major step in the right direction, particularly given that over 30% of children and 70% of adults in the UK are either overweight or obese. And that children today consume three times as much sugar as recommended.
“This tax represents a strong and symbolic tool for helping to reduce the levels of fat and sugar in our diets. It sends a clear signal to industry that the government agrees with the scientific evidence: sugar is harmful at the levels currently consumed by ourselves and by our children.
“There are obviously no magic bullets. On its own this tax cannot reverse or solve the obesity problem, but as part of a comprehensive strategy comprising a package of evidence-based intervention, then it is fine.
“We need to increase the affordability and availability of health options, and limit junk food and sugary drink promotions to children. Then we will really begin to address the problem.”
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