Children’s advocacy group, Parents’ Voice, applauds the UK government’s decision on Wednesday to levy a tax on sugar sweetened drinks, planned to kick off in 2018.
Calling for a similar levy to be introduced in Australia, Parents’ Voice Campaigns Manager Alice Pryor echoed celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s call for countries like Australia to “pull your finger out” and apply the tax in Australia also.
Australia is currently in the top ten countries for per capita consumption of soft drinks with 47% of children consuming sugar sweetened beverages (including energy drinks) every day. Evidence from countries like Mexico, which has an existing levy on sugary drinks, suggests that a well-designed sugary drinks tax is likely to reduce consumption levels across the population.
Ms Pryor congratulated the UK government for taking this step forward for the health of their nation: “Regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is linked to obesity which in turn increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s shocking that almost half of Australian children consume sugar sweetened beverages every day. Australia needs to act to ensure the health of our future generations.”
Ms Pryor added: “Taxes such as the one proposed by the UK are likely to have the additional benefit of promoting reformulation of these types of drinks by the beverages industry. The public health consensus is that introducing a sugary drinks tax in Australia would be an important piece of a comprehensive obesity prevention and education strategy, with benefits for the long-term health of our children.”
Angela Mallon 0404 570 525 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 email@example.com
Notes to Editor
- Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.
- Britain’s sugary drinks levy will begin in 2018 and drinks with more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres will be taxed at a higher rate than drinks with less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.
- Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager of Parents Voice and mother to two young children, is available for interview/picture opportunities.
 Mortensen A. The role of beverages in the diet of Australian children. Analysis and summary report commissioned by the Australian Beverages Council. Australia, 2010: 1–15