The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) has called on the Prime Minister to reconsider plans to review the sugar tax.
In July 2019, while running for election, Boris Johnson indicated that he would review ‘sin taxes’ if elected.
Now, in a letter to the Prime Minister, the College says that any moves to reverse the sugar tax “would significantly worsen the publics’ health”. Instead of reversing the levy, the College wants it to be extended to cover other products such as caffeinated drinks, milkshakes and fruit smoothies. The RCPE’s health priorities for the general election called for stronger controls on price promotions of high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods.
Professor Derek Bell, President of the RCPE, said: “Our fellows and members have consistently said that action on the levels of salt, sugar and fat in food and drink must be taken to improve the publics’ health in the UK.
“We support policies such as the soft drink industry levy because they do just that. The sugar tax tackles the problem at source by saying to the soft drinks industry: ‘you must do more to reduce the high levels of sugar in your products’.
“Far from reversing the sugar tax, the Government must build on what it has already accomplished on reducing the levels of salt, fat and sugar in our food and drink - the public health benefits are clear. Removing the sugar tax would contradict efforts to promote healthy lifestyles.
“This College is calling for the sugar tax to be extended to other products such as caffeinated drinks, milkshakes and fruit smoothies. We also want Government to work with retailers to make healthy food more accessible to all,” Professor Bell said.