Diabetes UK has welcomed the inclusion of the soft drinks industry levy in the today’s Queen’s Speech. The Chancellor, George Osborne, announced the Government’s plans for the levy in the March Budget.
Diabetes UK has called the levy a promising first step towards a comprehensive government strategy to tackle the obesity crisis.Helen Dickens, Diabetes UK Head of Prevention, said: “It is really promising news that the Government has announced a tax on the soft drinks industry. We have been campaigning for this measure as we are all consuming too much sugar. This is contributing to the huge rise we are seeing in the numbers of people who are overweight and obese, and therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. There are already around 3.6 million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes. This is already a huge health and economic burden for individuals and health systems.”The Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of 30 national health charities, medical royal colleges and campaign groups, which includes Diabetes UK, strongly supports the introduction and evaluation of a soft drinks industry levy. In a joint statement in response to today’s Queen’s Speech they said:“The sugar levy announced in today’s Queen's Speech has the potential to be an important measure in the fight against rising levels of obesity. High sugar consumption is contributing to the obesity crisis, which has a high cost both to people’s physical and mental health and the public purse.”