A new tax on the soft drinks industry has been announced in today's Budget.
Responding to the news, Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, 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.
“However, this tax should not be absorbed by the soft drinks industry. Prices need to change otherwise there will be no impact on the health of nation. But manufacturers and consumers could avoid the tax altogether by reducing the amount of sugar in their products. We now look forward to seeing further measures to tackle this crisis in the forthcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy. We would like to see mandatory targets for food manufacturers to reduce levels of salt, fat and sugar in their products, and restrict marketing of junk food to children.”
Currently, almost two thirds of adults in the UK and almost a third of children in the UK in their final year of primary school are overweight or obese, which means that they are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. This is unlike Type 1 diabetes which is not linked to lifestyle and cannot be prevented.
Many people with Type 1 diabetes use sugar sweetened drinks to treat low blood glucose levels. Diabetes UK will be involved in the consultation on how the sugar tax will be introduced to raise the issue that it should not impact negatively on the way people with diabetes treat their condition.