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Action on Sugar

Letter to Cameron


With supporting signatures from 17 health organisations, Action on Sugar tells Cameron: Sugar tax MUST be put back on the table

For full media coverage: Letter to Cameron - Media Coverage

Dear Editor

With just weeks to go until David Cameron launches his long awaited Childhood Obesity Strategy plus growing evidence that senior ministers are now considering a tax on sugary drinks to help tackle the obesity crisis, we are today urging the government to include the tax as part of their comprehensive plan.

The government has a unique opportunity to produce a coherent, structured evidence-based plan to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay – conditions which are preventable if the food environment is changed. Current policies are ineffective and we urgently require policies that work.

Unequivocal evidence from other countries has shown that a sugar tax duty on soft drinks will reduce sales of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, particularly among the more socially deprived who are more likely to develop obesity and type 2 diabetes. The tax will encourage behaviour change for those who drink sugar-sweetened soft drinks to either change to an artificially sweetened drink (which is lower in calories than sugar-sweetened) or to drink water - an even better option.

Over the past few days the NHS has confirmed it is to impose its own ‘sugar tax’ in hospitals and health centres in England to help tackle the growing problem of obesity, with a 20% tax on all sugary drinks and foods in NHS cafes by 2020. Whilst this is very encouraging and the 1.3 million NHS staff do have a ‘responsibility’ to lead by example, we are today urging MPs to take similar action and impose a 20% duty on all sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

Put simply, the annual cost to the NHS of obesity alone is a staggering £5.1 billion and Diabetes UK estimates that the NHS is already spending about £10 billion a year on diabetes – costs that are not sustainable and will bankrupt the NHS.

Prime Minister – sugar tax must be put back on the table before it’s too late.

Yours sincerely

Action on Sugar (Jenny Rosborough)
British Medical Association
Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (Dr Russell Viner, RCPCH Officer for Health Promotion)
Royal Society for Public Health (Shirley Cramer CBE)
National Obesity Forum (David Haslam)
Children’s Food Campaign (Malcolm Clarke)
Faculty of Public Health
School Food Matters (Stephanie Wood)
Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (Jo Ralling)
British Dental Association (Mick Armstrong)
Association of Directors of Public Health (Nicola Close)
Child Growth Foundation (Tam Fry)
Food Active (Robin Ireland)
Health Equalities Group (Robin Ireland)
UK Health Forum (Modi Mwatsama)
Royal National Orthopedic Hospital (Dr Roger Wolman)
Institute of Health Visiting (Dr Cheryll Adams) 



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