As the controversy over the mini-budget released by new PM Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng continues to rage on, Truss is now facing a similar backlash against plans to shelve the UK’s sugar tax amidst serious concerns over obesity and children’s sport.
The UK’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy, along with similar legislation, was originally employed to reduce the risk of sugar to public health. Since its inception and the additional investment through the legacy of London 2012, 48 kilos of sugar has been removed from the UK’s diet, and £1 billion has been raised to fund school activities and sport.
The plans are facing legal challenges, as well as resistance from MPs and those in the medical profession. Statements from Truss show her reticence to employ any new policies or campaigns that target obesity. In a Daily Mail article, she argued the importance of “rolling back the nanny state” under her premiership.
Sources in the Department of Health and Social Care have stated that the plans are a part of an internal summary. They quoted the “unprecedented global economic situation” as a reason to reconsider the levy. Repealing such critical legislation would have a huge impact on children still feeling the effects of the pandemic in schools across the country.
Keeping physical activity and sport at the centre of school life is an important part of the Pupil Premium, with the investment for the levy working directly to aid better standards of physical activity in schools. The NHS spends a reported £5.1 billion on the care of obesity-related illnesses. Keeping legislation designed to tackle obesity and sedentary lifestyles has never been more important.
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