Food & Politics…Sugar TAX


By Ola Owojori (Twitter: @OlaOwojori)

UK Government rolls full steam ahead with plans for a new sugar tax

I rarely pay attention to Jamie Oliver’s over zealous rants about various pasta dishes and innovative ways to make Wednesday’s leftovers more exciting. I am one for simplicity and there was something just a bit too complex about Jamie’s preferred methods of cooking. Jamie however, did manage to capture my attention with his calls for a nationwide sugar tax to help reverse the shocking rates of childhood (adults fare just as poorly mind you) obesity.

The new sugar tax as confirmed by Philip Hammond, will see the introduction of a levy on sugar sweetened drinks. It will be levied at 18p a litre for drinks with 5 grams of sugar per 100ml and a higher band of 24p a litre for those containing more than 8mg per 100ml once it is enforced in 2018;[i] so you may think twice before grabbing that cheeky can of coke enroute to work or that thirst quencher at dinner time.

However, the introduction of a sugar tax has not gone without heavy criticism with many reporting that the government should not be able to govern their freedom of choice. The government has been called in question with the levy being met with resentment at the thought that people will essentially be told how to consume drink and for the most part how to live their lives.[ii]

But could it be said that desperate times call for drastic measures?’ Obesity has presented itself as the health epidemic that continues to rear its ugly head. The UK has been deemed the ‘fat man of Europe’ (although Brexit may mean that this comparison is futile) with one in four adults being reportedly obese; something must be done if not from a health perspective alone. [iii] The ill effects are of course well-known including diabetes and cardiovascular disorder.

So whilst I may not welcome Jamie Oliver or Philip Hammond dictating the confines for which I can consume sugar, I do appreciate and welcome the small and active steps that are being taken towards finding workable solutions. I for one, do not want to see my children go through life with a number of health problems due to something that is entirely preventative. So brace yourself, your sweet tooth may just literally erode away due to inactive use come 2018…

(An easy guide to the sugar tax can be found here:




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