Majority of GPs are in support of a sugar tax

A sugar tax seems likely despite the Prime Ministers opposition to it.
A sugar tax seems likely despite the Prime Ministers opposition to it.

Almost seven out of 10 GPs believe the Government should implement a “sugar tax”, according to a recent poll.

The survey of 878 GPs for Pulse magazine found that 67 per cent supported a new tax, while 25 per cent were opposed.

A similar survey from Pulse last year found just 52 per cent of GPs supported the idea of a sugar tax, while 40 per cent were opposed.

The new poll comes after a report from Public Health England (PHE) last month showed there was a case for introducing a sugar tax of up to 20 per cent on high-sugar foods and drinks.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said David Cameron was not in favour of a tax, believing there were other measures available to drive down childhood obesity.

This stance puts him at loggerheads with campaigning TV chef Jamie Oliver, who has said he is “ready for a fight” with the Government on the issue.

The Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh have already called for the tax to be introduced saying: “Being overweight was considered the norm and claimed a tax on sugar would help stop the spiralling healthcare costs associated with the issue.”

“The UKs rising obesity epidemic will cost the NHS more than £8 billion by 2020” according to NHS CEO Simon Stevens.

The Royal College of GPs is supporting the work of Jamie Oliver – an Honorary Fellow of the College – in calling for a sugar tax, and his ongoing work to promote better food education and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: “Sugar in our food and drink, whilst enjoyable in the short term, is our hidden enemy and can lead to numerous serious, chronic health problems, including dental decay, obesity, diabetes and cancer.

“Our diets, and those of our children, increasingly contain too much sugar - often concealed in drinks such as fruit juice and cereals, which can seem like the healthy option.

“GPs are not killjoys, but there is absolutely no place in our diets – particularly children’s - for sugary drinks.”