Prime Minister David Cameron says he does not want to rule out introducing a sugar tax in order to tackle Britain’s “obesity crisis”.
In November, a group of MPs threw its weight behind a proposed tax on sugary drinks to battle child obesity – along with other measures.
These included tougher restrictions on marketing and advertising, including a ban on advertising unhealthy food before 9pm and a crackdown on price promotions and branding techniques such as the use of cartoon characters. Clearer labelling, with sugar content expressed in teaspoons, has also been recommended.
Mr Cameron said it would be better not to have to resort to new taxes but said that "what matters is we do make progress" on obesity. Number 10 previously said he "doesn’t see a need for a tax on sugar".
recommended a tax
In October, a report by Public Health England (PHE) recommended a tax of between 10% and 20% on high-sugar products as one of the measures needed to achieve a "meaningful" reduction in sugar consumption.
The PM said the government would come up with a "fully worked-up programme" to tackle obesity, with details announced later this year.
He added: "We shouldn’t be in the business of ruling things out but obviously putting extra taxes on things is not something I aim to do, it’s something I would rather avoid."
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has said it does not agree evidence supports the introduction of a tax on sugary products and that the industry is "determined" to help tackle childhood obesity. They claimed that only 40% of Britons thought a tax on sugary drinks would be effective and even fewer considered a ban on supermarket price promotions would work.