Chancellor's sugar tax a 'good step' towards tackling childhood obesity, says RCN

George Osborne says levy will raise £530 million which will be used to fund sports activities in primary schools

Health leaders have welcomed chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of a sugar tax in yesterday’s budget.

The initiative, aimed at tackling childhood obesity, will tax manufacturers on the volume of sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import. It will come into effect in 2018 and is expected to raise £530 million, which Mr Osborne said will be used to fund sports activities in primary schools.

He told the House of Commons that ‘five-year-old children are consuming their body weight in sugar every year’.

Responding to the announcement, RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘Childhood obesity is affecting children’s health and restricting their lives, so action is needed now.

'Nurses working in this field know that prevention is best because it can be difficult to rectify the problem. Mr Osborne's announcement of a sugar tax on drinks manufacturers is a good step towards prevention of obesity.’

Ms Davies called on manufacturers to reduce sugar levels and provide clear information about ingredients so that consumers can make healthy choices.

‘This is just the first of what we hope will be many measures to address this complex challenge,' she said. 'It will boost activity levels, change the nation’s relationship with sugar so that children do not become hooked, and reduce the instances of avoidable conditions such as type 2 diabetes.’

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