Fizzy drink industry rejects doctors' calls for extra taxation
Manufacturers of fizzy drinks have hit back at a call by GPs for them to be taxed to help tackle spiralling levels of obesity.
Following a report released by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC), which expressed concerns about public health, the soft drinks industry has rejected the idea that a tax would help.
An industry body has said their products account for just 2% of calories in an average diet and it is what people consume overall that needs to be addressed.
They also said sales of fizzy drinks have fallen during the last decade, but levels of obesity have risen.
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Gavin Partington, director-general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "We share the recognition that obesity is a major public health priority, but reject the idea that a tax on soft drinks, which contribute just 2% of the total calories in the average diet, is going to address a problem which is about overall diet and levels of activity.
"Over the last ten years, the consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9%, while the incidence of obesity has been increasing, and 61% of soft drinks now contain no added sugar. Soft drinks companies are also committing to further, voluntary action as part of the Government's Responsibility Deal Calorie Reduction Pledge.
"Don't forget that there already is a 20% tax on soft drinks – 10p out of every 60p can of drink already goes to the Government thanks to VAT. Putting up taxes even further will put pressure on people's purses at a time when they can ill afford it."
The AMRC, which represents nearly every one of Britain's 220,000 doctors, is pressing the Government, the NHS and food organisations for action on what it calls the greatest public health crisis affecting the UK, The Guardian said.
Figures say one in four adults is obese and that number is expected to double by 2050, presenting an unresolvable problem.