Jamie Oliver 'in shock' over sugar tax reforms

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Jamie Oliver 'in shock' over sugar tax reforms

Related tags: Nutrition

Jamie Oliver has criticised the ‘disappointing’ reforms in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, which has been announced today.

The plan asks the food and drink industry to cut five per cent of sugar in products over the next year, with a target of cutting 20 per cent by 2020.

It follows a long-running anti-sugar campaign​ by the TV chef, who has introduced a 10p tax on sugary drinks across his own UK restaurants.

But Oliver said the announcement was ‘far from robust’ and failed to tackle junk food advertisements targeted at children.

“I’m in shock,” the chef wrote on his Facebook page.​ “This strategy was Britain’s opportunity to lead the way and to implement real, meaningful environmental change, to start removing the crippling financial burden from our NHS and reversing the tide of diet-related disease.

“With this disappointing, and frankly, underwhelming strategy the health of our future generations remains at stake.”

Industry reacts

The tax has met with a largely negative response in the hospitality industry, with fears it could push up prices in the already pressured pub sector.

Both the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), said the levy would be a ‘burden’ on the industry and see pubgoers paying more.

However, the Government insisted the levy was ‘not a tax on consumers’, and that drinks firms would have a chance to reduce sugar levels before the tax came in to force in 2018.

“Companies don’t have to pass the charge on to their customers,” the Government said in a statement.

“If companies take the right steps to make their drinks healthier they will pay less tax, or even nothing at all.”

The BBPA also welcomed the Government’s decision not to force businesses to display calorie information on menus, warning it would harm smaller operators whose menus varied from site to site.

However, Oliver said he hoped the Government would act on its promise in the report to ‘take further action where it is needed’.

Related topics: People, Restaurants

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