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NUTRITION

Soft Drinks Industry Levy, UK’s move against obesity, comes into effect
Tuesday, 10 April, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
London
With the Soft Drinks Industry Levy coming into effect recently, millions of children across the United Kingdom are expected to benefit from the government’s key milestone in tackling childhood obesity.

The tax on soft drinks, commonly referred to as the sugar tax, has already resulted in over 50 per cent of manufacturers reducing the sugar content of drinks since it was announced in March 2016 – the equivalent of 45 million kg of sugar every year.

Soft drink manufacturers who do not reformulate will pay the levy, which is expected to raise £240 million each year.

This money will go towards doubling the Primary Sports Premium, the creation of a Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to help schools upgrade their sports facilities, and give children access to top-quality physical education (PE) equipment.

The levy will also give a funding boost for healthy school breakfast clubs.

Recently, Robert Jenrick, Member of Parliament and exchequer secretary to the treasury, visited the Lucozade Ribena Suntory factory, which has led the way in reformulating its drinks, alongside the likes of Tesco and Irn Bru.

He commented, “The Soft Drinks Levy is one part of our plan to tackle childhood obesity. Soft drinks which contain too much added sugar will need to pay a fee.”

“All revenues raised through the levy will directly fund new sports facilities in schools as well as healthy breakfast clubs, ensuring children lead healthier lives.”

“We want to persuade manufacturers to reformulate their drinks and lower the sugar content. In the time between announcing this policy and it taking effect, more than half of all soft drinks have been reformulated to lower the sugar content, including many of the best-known soft drinks. We hope that will continue in the months and years to come.”

In England alone, a third of children are obese or overweight when they leave primary school, and evidence shows that 80 per cent of kids who are obese in their early teens will go on to be obese adults.

Steve Brine, Member of Parliament and public health minister, said, “Our teenagers consume nearly a bathtub of sugary drinks each year on average, fuelling a worrying obesity trend in this country.”

“The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is ground-breaking policy that will help to reduce sugar intake, whilst funding sports programmes and nutritious breakfast clubs for children,” he added.

“The progress made so far on our obesity plan is promising—but with one in three children still leaving primary school overweight or obese, we have not ruled out doing more in future,” Brine said.
 
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