Dr James Davies MP Welcomes Sugar Levy to Tackle Child Obesity

Dr James Davies MP yesterday spoke in support of the government’s Finance Bill in the Commons.  Dr Davies declared it a Bill that prioritises economic stability and said there is much to welcome, particularly the further increase in income tax thresholds that will help working families and people on lower incomes.

Dr Davies directed his main comments to the renewed commitment to a Soft Drinks Industry Levy as a way to fight child obesity as a key part of the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. Dr Davies stated “I wholeheartedly welcome the levy. No single silver bullet is available to tackle this growing problem but the levy is necessary as a package of measures to tackle obesity crisis.  I have concluded that the government has a real need to act on this… through my experience as a member of the Commons Health Select Committee. Obese children are 5 times more likely to become obese adults therefore we have a clear need to tackle child obesity now. One in 5 children starting Primary school are overweight.  5 year olds are believed to consume their own weight in sugar per year and 4-10 year olds consume half bathtub of sugary drinks per year. I believe the government has a duty of care to address important public health issues, as per tobacco and alcohol. I will monitor closely the introduction of this important measure”.

The legislation for the implementation of the Soft Drink Industry Levy will be included in the upcoming Finance Bill and will be introduced from April 2018.

The estimated cost to the UK economy today from obesity is between £27 billion and £46 billion, with the NHS spending over £6 billion a year on weight and obesity-related ill health.

The soft drinks industry levy and reformulation programme are expected to help reduce childhood obesity. The measure is being introduced from April 2018 to ensure that firms have the time to reformulate drinks to low sugar alternatives, moving consumers towards lower sugar alternatives, and reducing portion sizes.

To read the hansard click here