The next government  could save the NHS £300 million by introducing a sugary drinks duty

The Children’s Food Campaign has today published a tool that allows people to view the impact a sugary drinks duty could have in their local area. The figures, available on www.childrenshealthfund.org.uk, show that the introduction of a duty on sugary drinks could reduce cases of diet-related diseases by tens of thousands, as well as save the NHS and public health budgets in England £300 million over twenty years.

Soft drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 4-10 years and teenagers.  The research, published in association with University of Liverpool academic Brendan Collins and Food Active, shows that if the government introduced a 20 pence per litre sugary drinks duty in England, then the impact nationally over twenty years could be to:

• reduce the cases of diabetes by just under 50,000
• prevent almost 9000 cases of bowel cancer
• reduce strokes and cases of coronary heart disease by over 33,000
• save the NHS at least £15million a year in healthcare costs for treating those diseases.
• improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of residents.

Outside of London, the impact on obesity and calorie reduction could be greatest in places such as Slough, Manchester, Luton, Blackburn, Leicester, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Bradford and Nottingham, which have the highest relative proportion of younger demographics who typically consume the most sugary drinks.  The local authorities set to gain the most total savings and health benefits from a sugary drinks duty include Birmingham, Leeds, Durham, Cornwall, Sheffield and Bradford – due to their large populations.

Kawther Hashem, Researcher for Action on Sugar says, "The underlying cause of ill health is the food and drink environment. The next Government must act in our best interests and take action using all the evidence-based tools at our disposal including taxation. It is time taxes on food and drinks are used to improve health. A 20p per litre sugary drinks duty would save lives and money across England.”

Full data sources and methodology can be viewed at www.childrenshealthfund.org.uk