Back in March 2016 the then chancellor, George Osborne, announced the introduction of the sugar tax. This was the UK governments attempt at tackling the rising obesity among children in the UK. It comes into force in April this year.
I recently posted a piece related to this when the makers of Irn-Bru announced they were reducing the sugar in their product so you might want to check out Why I Won’t Stop My Kids Drinking Sugary Drinks before reading this post.
As I said in the above post I believe that people should be able to manage their own diets, therefore their intake of sugar, and that maybe the issue is a lack of education on proper nutrition and sugar. Penalising those that do regulate their intake with higher prices because of the few that are idiots about hardly seems fair.
But the sugar tax itself confuses me. Why are they introducing it? To tackle rising obesity amongst children they say. How? So I’m thinking that the tax will increase the price thus people will buy less and thus consume less suagary drinks. But apparently the expected revenue it will bring in, £520 million each year, is to be spent in primary school sport. Drink with over 5g of sugar per 100ml will have an 18 pence per litre tax and 8g of sugar per 100ml will incur a 25 pence per litre charge.
What exactly does this fix? Improving sports in primary schools is a great idea and I fully support this, but that doesn’t stop kids from drinking sugar filled pop or eating sugar filled foods? Could the money not also be spent in significantly improving food and nutrition education across all school ages? Furthermore, there’s no point educating the children if the parents don’t know as it clear we’ve got a generation of parents with a lack of knowledge. If we’re going to educate the kids we must educate the parents too.
Simply increasing sporting activity isn’t going to solve child obesity. If anyone thinks that then they are deluded. Forcing a child to take part in sports if they really are the sporting kind could be torture for them – why would they enjoy that? Balance must be taught across activity and diet. Brutal honesty with the kids, shocking photos, and tough words might just hit home.
Sadly I don’t see this doing any good for child obesity in the UK. I do truly hope I am completely wrong and in 3 or 4 years we look back and say massive improvements have been made. I just can’t see it myself.
What do you think? I’d really love to know the thoughts of fellow parents on this one.
Thanks for reading.