Skip to navigationSkip to content

Members of the UK’s parliament throw their support behind a sugar tax

Ian Muttoo/Flickr under CC-BY
A sugar tax could hurt the soda business, but it needs to pass first.
By Deena Shanker
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Momentum is building in the United Kingdom to institute a sugar tax.

In October, the long-delayed report on sugar and childhood obesity from the government agency, Public Health England, was finally published. Earlier this month the House of Commons Public Health Committee put out its own assessment. Both say Britain’s children are consuming way more sugar than is healthy—and both suggest a sugar tax as one way to fight the problem.

The number one contributor to all those added sugar calories for children ages 1.5 to 18 years old is soft drinks and implementing a sugar tax on sodas now has a proven track record. In Mexico, a 10% tax on sodas cut their consumption by 6%, the report notes.

Currently, a fifth of all children in the UK are overweight or obese when they start school. By the time they graduate, that proportion grows to one third. “We believe that if the government fails to act, the problem will become far worse,” said committee chair Dr. Sarah Wollaston.

Both reports also call for more regulation of the marketing and advertising of sugary products, including rules on price promotions, television commercials and the labels on the products themselves.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, however, has said that he does not support a soda tax. Unsurprisingly, neither does the British Soft Drinks Association.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.