The UK Parliament will debate a sugar tax on November 30, after a petition created by chef Jamie Oliver was signed by more than 150,000 people. The online petition only needed 100,000 people to get the proposed subject debated. People will be able to watch the debate on TV.
However, the Government has responded that there will not be a tax on sugary products. David Cameron said in October that he would not entertain the idea because it would not help, despite not reading a report to show how a sugar tax could help reduce obesity. He has been accused of being too close to big corporations that would be affected negatively by a proposed tax.
Obesity is a growing concern in the UK. Oliver presented Jamie’s Sugar Rush on Channel 4 earlier this year, highlighting the dangers of sugars in food. The program highlighted that the majority of children who go under general anaesthetic is due to having decayed teeth removed, and that more than 7,000 amputations a year are for those with type 2 diabetes, which is linked to poor diet and sugar.
The UK Government has responded to the petition to say that there is a tax lock to help reduce the rising cost of living. Many people enjoy sugary beverages and snacks, and they could be detrimentally affected. However, there are arguments that it would help parents make a better choice when in supermarkets because the “easier” options are too expensive. The Government says it is looking at other ways to tackle childhood obesity.
Oliver’s proposed sugar tax is not extortionate in many people’s eyes. It is calling for a 7p tax on a current regular sized can of pop, around 330mls. One study shows that sugary drinks are the largest single source of sugar available in the United Kingdom at the moment. They are available to all, including children and teenagers. Oliver’s own restaurants and the chain Leon have already introduced a 10p tax on their drinks with added sugar. Oliver asked many other restaurant owners to do the same, but it has had mixed results. Many worry that parents would choose to go elsewhere because the food and drink could be too expensive for them. They also wonder whether it can really help.
Another report shows that between 12 and 15 percent of energy on a daily basis is gained from sugar. It should only be 5 percent, according to health guidelines. Many fail to realize just how much sugar is added to products, and just how addictive it is. The debate continues, as various health professionals and chefs attempt to educate people on the danger of sugar.
Food Manufacturer: http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Regulation/Celebrity-chef-forces-sugar-tax-debate
Image of Jamie Oliver from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Oliver#/media/File:Jamie_Oliver_cooking.jpg) used under the CC-3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)
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