Cameron under pressure to enforce sugar tax

The Prime Minister is facing demands to at least consider the intended sugar tax, after it emerged he had not yet read research by Public Health England (PHE), the government’s advisory group, that was controversially delayed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Ministers are now facing accusations that they attempted to cover the recommendations after it emerged that Hunt requested that Public Health officials refrain from publishing the report until the government’s childhood obesity strategy was ready.

As well as the advised sugar tax, Downing Street are also considering other options to reduce obesity, including a crackdown on advertising sugary products and cut-price promotions of high sugar food and drink.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister has said that there are ‘better ways’ to tackle obesity than implementing a sugar tax. Cameron’s reluctance to back the measure places him at odds with numerous medical groups, health charities, and high profile campaigners including Jamie Oliver.

A survey conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health found that around two-thirds of senior healthcare workers in the UK support the sugar tax.

Conservative MP Nick Herbert is calling for the government to seriously consider the possibility of a sugar tax. He said: “I don’t want to see higher taxes overall, but it’s not a bad principle to tax discretionary items that are bad for us. So I think Jamie [Oliver]’s proposals are worth looking at.

“We have got to deal with the rising social and economic costs of childhood obesity. Once again, the time for Jamie’s campaign has come.”

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