Health chiefs in Wolverhampton have welcomed the announcement of a tax on sugary drinks, which they say will be a key weapon in their fight against the city's high obesity levels.

Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the "sugar tax" - a levy on soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml - in Wednesday's Budget.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We have fundamental concerns about childhood obesity in Wolverhampton, with more than a quarter of our 10 year olds classed as obese, compared to just under a fifth nationally.

"Having high sugar levels in their diet is a major cause of this - and it is also impacting on their dental health too.

"We are pleased that the Government will be introducing this sugar tax; it is a national step change that can make a difference to obesity, not just in Wolverhampton but across England, in the years ahead.

"Similar taxes have worked in other countries, reducing consumption of fizzy drinks by up to one quarter, and we hope it will encourage consumers in Wolverhampton to choose low sugar alternatives wherever possible.

"What is also pleasing is that the money raised through the sugar tax will be used to improve funding for sports and physical activities within schools, which can only be a positive for our young people.

"I'd like to thank everyone that has campaigned so hard for the sugar tax over the last few years, including Jamie Oliver and the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, and Public Health England for their ongoing work to reduce sugar consumption through campaigns like Sugar Smart."

The Office for Budgetary Responsibility suggests the sugar tax will add between 18p and 24p per litre of high sugar drinks, or about 6p to 8p on a standard 330ml can.

The City of Wolverhampton Council launched a Call to Action on obesity in 2014, and is working with health professionals, businesses, schools and faith and community groups to devise ways of tacking the problem in the city.

For more information about the Sugar Smart campaign, please visit Type=links;Linkid=3170;Title=Change4life;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Friday 18 March, 2016