Sugar tax call by local councillor

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Sugar. Pic © JMU Journalism

Sugar. Pic © JMU Journalism

A call has been made for a local sugar tax and better labelling of food packaging to help reduce the hidden amounts that people consume.

Councillor Richard Kemp is hoping that making people more aware of how much sugar is in food will help to reduce obesity rates, starting with people in Liverpool. To help spread the message, he wants charities, schools and families to get involved to learn about the high levels of sugar in certain foods and drinks.

Speaking to JMU Journalism, Councillor Kemp said: “I think people would be shocked at the amount of sugar in things they’re buying. For example I was amazed at how much is in tins of tomato soup, something you wouldn’t expect to have a lot of sugar in. We need health and education, such as families getting involved to learn about how much sugar they consume.”

According to the councillor, 30% of young people are obese, and 5% of those are clinically obese. A famous advocate for helping to reduce childhood obesity, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, has also begun campaigning for the Government to introduce a 20% sugar tax on fizzy drinks.

Cllr Kemp is also keen for local restaurants, such as Frankie & Benny’s, Nandos and Pizza Hut to get involved in reducing sugar consumption, starting with reducing the amount of free refills on soft drinks and cutting out the amount of sugar in their recipes. He told JMU Journalism: “There is no need for restaurants to put so much sugar in their food, it’s unimaginative to use sugar instead of using other spices to flavour food.”

He hopes that cutting down on sugar will take off in the same way the smoking ban began in Liverpool, which soon became a countrywide initiative after the Welsh and Scottish governments expressed interest in it.

“I’m hoping we can involve others like schools and charities to spread awareness of the issue with sugar. If we want something to happen we need to work together to make the change,” said Cllr Kemp.

About Emily Curren, JMU Journalism