A tax on sugary drinks has not been ruled out by prime minister David Cameron and could mean an extra £1 billion for the NHS, Jamie Oliver, chef and campaigner, said yesterday.
Despite the rumours surrounding the sugar tax “the discussions that I’ve had haven’t implied that this is written off,” he confirmed.
“I think the government in general has done a large disservice to children over the last 30 years,” he stated, calling on the prime minister to “be brave” by implementing a 7p sugar tax on all cans of soft drink with added sugar.
He believes that this could raise £1 billion in a year to be put towards the NHS and nutrition in schools, the equivalent of £20,000 for each primary school, Oliver added.
Speaking to the Health Committee at Westminster Hall, Oliver said that he would like to see “honesty and clarity” in the food and drink industry following the report from PHE, in terms of nutrition information, and ”the language we use to talk about nutrition.”
Duncan Selbie, the chief executive of Public Health England (PHE) was also a witness, and was criticised by the Health Select Committee for withholding the evidence found from the childhood obesity strategy, which was given to government on 9 October.
Selbie did not want to disclose the evidence or the report, as he had promised Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for health, that the government would have time to reach agreement on it first.
In terms of the content of the strategy, Selbie told the committee “there are eight themes to the evidence review, in which we’ve giving advice to the government,” and mentioned four of them: portion control, advertising, price promotion and fiscal measures, such as a sugar tax.