The Chancellor’s announcement of a levy on soft drinks, was much more than a crowd, or celebrity chef pleaser. It represents real sense. Obesity and weight-related diseases are not just inconvenient truths, they are killers, costing the NHS £5.1 billion. That’s more than smoking at £2.7 billion.
One in 10 children start primary school obese. By the end, one in five are obese. If you add in those who are overweight, it's one in three. Sugary drinks, often a child’s favourite, are a major part of this. Crucially, evidence shows that millions of people could be discouraged from becoming obese because of this levy, with the higher price aiding a cut in consumption.
But it is not just about discouraging drinking super sugary drinks. This levy is about proactively encouraging exercise, to tackle the problem of obesity. The estimated £520 million raised from the levy on soft drinks will be spent on doubling the primary school PE and sport premium from £160 million to £320 million per year, and on providing up to £285 million a year to allow 25 per cent of secondary schools to extend their school day. This will mean more kids, staying active, and enjoying sport.
This measure will help keep kids active, save money for the NHS, but most important of all, will go some way to help ensure the long-term health of our children, and the nation as a whole.