BRIGHTON AND Hove has become the first city in the UK to introduce a voluntary sugar tax. The council wants food outlets to add a 10p levy to any soft drinks with added sugar.
It also wants cafés, restaurants and takeaways to reassess ingredients, information and labelling, whilst supermarkets will be encouraged to design “sugar smart checkouts”.
This week the health secretary Jeremy Hunt also hinted that tougher regulation could be the only way to tackle the rise in childhood obesity.
As part of the new #SugarSmartCity project, Brighton will also be taking action on sugary drinks and snacks in schools, with food education programmes rolled out to every primary school in the area. Vending machines will also be given a healthy refresh.
“Many processed foods sold as savoury foods or healthier options have significant amounts of sugar amongst the ingredients,” the council said.
Jamie Oliver, who recently introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks in his restaurant chain, has backed the campaign.
However, critics suggested the initiative is little more than a PR stunt, with the Guardian quoting some local businesses that knew nothing about the plans.
The government recently ruled out introducing a mandatory sugar tax on sugary drinks.
However, at the Conservative party conference this week, Hunt said a “draconian” approach may be required to tackle the “national scandal” of childhood obesity.
His comments come just days after a report in the Sunday Times suggested that the voluntary public health responsibility deal is being wound up.