Birmingham health chief, Cllr Paulette Hamilton, has welcomed Government plans for a sugar tax on soft drinks as ‘a victory for children’s health’.
In his 2016 Budget, Chancellor George Osborne this afternoon unveiled a tax on the makers of sugary soft drinks to tackle childhood obesity.
From 2018 there will be two bands – one for total sugar content above 5 grammes per 100 millilitres and a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8 grammes per 100 millimetres.
The cash raised will be spent on doubling funding for sport in primary schools.
Responding to the news, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Hamilton, said: “The health and wellbeing of our children should be our primary concern so anything that helps to tackle the childhood obesity crisis is welcomed.
“Studies show that children consume three times as much sugar as they should – with a third of that coming from fizzy drinks. That clearly can’t continue.
“So I welcome this move as a victory for children’s health but it is disappointing that the money raised by this new tax – an estimated £520 million a year – isn’t being used to boost funding for public health work carried out by councils.
“We’re on the frontline of this fight but recent cuts have reduced our ability to fund preventative work and this money could have provided a timely boost.
“We can only tackle this issue if individuals, parents and grandparents, councils, health professionals and the Government work together for the good of our children. Councils are determined to play their part but we need funding to tackle childhood obesity.”