Jamie Oliver calls on David Cameron to introduce sugar tax

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Yesterday Jamie Oliver told MPs that David Cameron need to be“be brave” and show big business “who is boss” by introducing a tax on sugary drinks. Oliver was speaking before the Commons Health Select Committee as part of his campaign to cut the country’s sugar consumption.

He proposed a 20% hypothecated (money for a specific purpose) tax per litre on sugary drinks. He argued this could raise £1bn to be shared between the NHS and primary schools.

Oliver said that in his conversations with the Prime Minister, he did not think a sugar tax had been “written off”. He told the Committee: “The discussions I’ve had are robust and Mr Cameron is reviewing everything, [and] seems to be interrogating it really well.

“We need to make sure that he is brave.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This Government is committed to turning the tide on childhood obesity. That is why we are developing a comprehensive strategy looking at all the factors, including sugar consumption, that contribute to a child becoming overweight and obese. This will be published in the coming months.”

Jamie’s Sugar Manifesto from Sugar Rush

  1. My big aim: introduce the sugary drinks tax
  2. Legislate the responsibility deal
  3. Ban all junk food marketing on TV before 9pm & create more robust digital marketing regulations to protect our children
  4. Make the traffic light labelling system mandatory for all front-of-pack packaging
  5. Show sugar content in teaspoons on front of pack for all sugary drinks

In 2014 a study, commissioned by consultancy firm McKinsey, revealed obesity had the second-largest economic impact on the UK behind smoking. The current rate of obesity and overweight conditions suggest the cost to the NHS could increase from between £6 billion and £8 billion in 2015 to between £10 billion and £12 billion in 2030.