30 November 2015

Leading health charity the British Dental Health Foundation welcomes news that MPs have backed a tax on sugary drinks in England and calls for the government to take note.

The Commons' Health Select Committee has today [30th November 2015] called for an introduction of a sugar tax as part of what they describe as a ‘bold and urgent' set of measures to tackle child health issues.

The committee said there was "compelling evidence" the tax would reduce the consumption of sugary drinks and help to protect generations of children from health problems such as tooth decay and obesity.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, responded to the report: "What we are seeing is a paradigm shift, with this report real pressure will be put on ministers who have so far resisted a tax, they cannot now ignore the fact that it will have a real and hugely positive effect on the nation's health.

"We reiterate our long held stance that the introduction of the tax is a necessity, currently child tooth extractions due to sugar related tooth decay are the single biggest reason for children being admitted to hospital for general anaesthetics. This cannot continue. There is a definite need for quick and decisive action and minsters have to pay attention.

"The additional proposal to crackdown on the marketing and advertising of sugary drinks is also great news."

The Commons' Health Select Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston said: "We believe that if the government fails to act, the problem will become far worse.

"A full package of measures is required and should be implemented as soon as possible."

The report reinforces a review by Public Health England a few weeks ago which also recommended similar measures.

Recommendations from the PHE report include a reduction on price promotions in stores, sugar reduction in everyday food and drink and an introduction of a 10-20% tax on sugary soft drinks.

The British Dental Health Foundation considers these measures will go a long way in improving British children's oral health and keenly awaits the government's plans which are due to be outlined early next year.