New poll shows big majority of GPs want sugar tax

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver at the Health Select Committee. Photo : PA Wire
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver at the Health Select Committee. Photo : PA Wire
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ALMOST SEVEN out of 10 GPs believe the Government should implement a “sugar tax”, according to a poll.

The survey of 878 GPs for Pulse magazine found that 67 per cent supported a new tax, while 25 per cent were opposed.

A similar survey from Pulse last year found just 52 per cent of GPs supported the idea of a sugar tax, while 40 per cent were opposed.

The new poll comes after a report from Public Health England (PHE) last month showed there was a case for introducing a sugar tax of up to 20 per cent on high-sugar foods and drinks.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said David Cameron was not in favour of a tax, believing there were other measures available to drive down childhood obesity.

This stance puts him at loggerheads with campaigning TV chef Jamie Oliver, who has said he is “ready for a fight” with the Government on the issue.

Essex GP Dr Alice Hodkinson told Pulse that people were in the dark over the effects of too much sugar.

She said: “People do not realise how much sugar is in the food they eat, particularly savoury food, and I would want to use the tax system to encourage people to eat less sugar and eat more fruit and veg.

“Ideally, I would plough the money back into making fruit and veg cheaper.”

However, some GPs said there were better ways of driving down sugar consumption. Dr Steve Lumb, a GP partner in the Durham Dales, said: “Better education on diet via the media, schools, health visitors, etc along with better labelling of foods would make more sense.

“I also agree with banning advertising of certain foods and drinks.”

The deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: ‘The BMA has been campaigning for a sugar tax and we welcome the increased focus on this from Public Health England and through the Commons Health Committee.

“There is an urgent need to tackle the amount of hidden sugar in our diets, which is a significant.”