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Boroughs want a say in sugary drinks industry levy spending

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

London boroughs must be involved in decisions about how funding raised through the sugary drinks industry levy is spent in the capital, according to London Councils. As the government consultation on the levy, also known as the sugar tax, closes today (13 October 2016), London Councils is highlighting why boroughs should have a say in how money generated by the sugar tax is invested.

It is also calling on government to ensure funds raised in London are spent in London.

Cllr Claire Kober OBE, Chair of London Councils, said:

“The sugar tax will give anti child obesity projects in London the chance of a much needed cash boost. Children in our capital are among the most obese in the country so this issue requires urgent attention. Today we are calling on government to give councils the power to target money raised by the new tax and to ensure money raised by the sugar tax in London, is invested in London.”

The sugary drinks levy will penalise drinks businesses who fail to reduce the sugar content of their products. It is estimated that the levy will generate £520 million in its first year.

Despite facing a 37 per cent cut to their core budgets between now and the end of this Parliament, London boroughs take their public health responsibilities seriously and know that swift and decisive action needs to be taken to address childhood obesity.

They are already investing £16 million to reach London’s goal of reducing childhood obesity rates by 10 per cent by the end of the decade, and they are also devising innovative solutions such as using the planning system to ensure food takeaways do not cluster near schools and training frontline council staff to recognise childhood obesity. For more information, click here.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. London Councils represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. It also runs a number of direct services for member authorities including the Freedom Pass, Taxicard and Health Emergency Badge. It also runs an independent parking appeals service and a pan-London grants programme for voluntary organisations.
2. More than 37 per cent of year 6 children in the capital are classed as overweight or obese.
3. Government announced that income generated by the levy can be spent to:

  • help fund the primary school PE and sport premium to help schools support healthier, more active lifestyles. This funding will enable primary schools to make further improvements to the quality and breadth of PE and sport they offer, such as by introducing new activities and after school clubs and making greater use of people to coach sports
  • provide funding to give 25% of secondary schools increased opportunity to extend their school day to offer a wider range of activities for pupils, including more sport
  • provide funding to expand breakfast clubs in up to 1,600 schools starting from September 2017, to ensure more children have a nutritious breakfast as a healthy start to their school day.