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Michelin chef backs sugary drinks tax

By Sophie Witts , 15-Jan-2016
Last updated on 15-Jan-2016 at 18:19 GMT2016-01-15T18:19:20Z

Michelin chef backs sugary drinks tax

Andrew Fairlie – chef at the eponymous two Michelin-starred restaurant at Gleneagles - has backed calls for a tax on sugary drinks in Scotland.

The chef has leant his support to sustainable food consultancy SOURCE, which is campaigning for the Scottish government to impose the levy.

It follows the publication of a report by Food Standards Scotland that found that 65 per cent of Scottish adults are overweight or obese.

The study argued that the country's poor diet was ‘deep-rooted and hasn’t changed significantly in the last fifteen years’.

Fairlie said: “You have to ask yourself why you wouldn’t apply a tax to a product that is causing such major health problems to our children.

“It would be criminal not to. It’s time to take action and the evidence is overwhelming that a sugar drinks tax for Scotland is an idea whose time has come.”

Growing campaign

The possibility of a sugar tax has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months following a high profile campaign by Jamie Oliver.

The chef – who has introduced a 10p tax on sugary drinks across his UK restaurants – said past politicians had done an ‘incredible disservice to children’ by failing to tackle unhealthy diets.

But following reports that MPs were considering introducing the levy as part of the Government’s upcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy, David Cameron told journalists last week that he was committed to a ‘fully worked-up’ programme to combat Britain’s ‘obesity crisis’.

Restaurants challenged to sign up to Jamie Oliver's sugar tax

It is estimated that a tax of 7p per regular sized can of drink could generate an additional £1bn a year to fund children’s health programmes.

SOURCE director Mike Small described the case for a sugar tax as ‘overwhelming’.

“With government spending on health and education under immense pressure, a tax on the corporates exploiting cheap sugar could raise new revenue for a healthier, happier Scotland,” he said.

“Children in the UK consume three times more sugar than is recommended, and soft drinks are by far the biggest source, accounting for 29 per cent of the sugar intake of 11- to 18-year-olds and 16 per cent for younger children.

“There’s something we can do about this, right now, if we have the political will.”