Dr Pete Scarborough was invited to appear as a witness at the Health and Social Care Committee discussion of the government’s strategy to tackle childhood obesity on 1 May 2018. He was asked to talk specifically about the national and international evidence around sugar drink taxation, and more generally about the progress made to date with government’s Childhood Obesity Plan.
In her introduction to the session, the committee Chair observed that every year the health inequality gap widens and the committee was keen to focus the discussion on how to reduce this.
Pete commented that the initiatives most likely to impact on inequality were those which required little action by individuals such as the sugar drinks industry levy, sugar reduction strategy and the television ban on advertising unhealthy food.
He said that CPNP was collecting data on the effects of the recent sugar drinks industry levy, but that it was too early to make definitive statements about its effectiveness, and noted that a tax on sugar drinks in Mexico had been shown to have a sustained effect on reducing sales of these drinks, particularly by low income consumers, so was beneficial in reducing health inequalities.
Other witnesses at the meeting included Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver.
The discussion can be viewed on Parliamentlive.tv