William Eichler 08 April 2019

Council chiefs call for ‘greater proportion’ of soft drinks levy

Local authority leaders have called for a greater share of the soft drinks levy to go towards the public health budgets of councils.

The levy on sugar-sweetened drinks has been in force for one year and has raised an estimated £250m from producers.

Funding from the levy currently goes towards school sports and breakfast clubs to help improve children’s oral health and to reduce incidences of childhood obesity.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) has urged the Government to give a ‘greater proportion’ of the levy to councils.

Local authorities have seen their public health budgets cut by £531m over the last five years.

‘In a year since the soft drinks industry levy was introduced, manufacturers have cut the amount of sugar in their products while hundreds of millions of pounds have been raised in revenue. It is vital that the funds raised so far are invested in the best possible way to ensure that our children get the greatest start in life,’ said the chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth.

‘However in order to truly tackle our child obesity epidemic, councils need to be able to use this money to intervene earlier and do more to ensure that our children stay healthy, active and develop good eating habits, which they can continue into adulthood.’

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