The British Dental Health Foundation has strongly criticised the Government’s “lost opportunity” by rejecting the overwhelming calls for a sugar tax. The BDHF feel, like other dental and health groups, that the move would act on the urgent need to promote healthy living and improve the quality of life for millions.
Organised by Jamie Oliver, an online petition directly aimed at Parliament was signed by more than 140,000 people. Although this guarantees a mention in the House of Commons at some stage, the Government issued a statement stating they had “no plans to introduce a tax on sugar sweetened beverages.”
This is despite the alarming statistics concerning child tooth decay and obesity, where sugary drinks play a very important role in damaging our health.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, commented: “The British Dental Health Foundation has strongly supported Mr Oliver’s renewed calls for the introduction of a ‘sugar tax’, with experts believing a tax of just 7p per regular-sized can of soft drink with added sugar could generate £1 billion per year to treat health problems caused by sugar.
“The UK Government has since disappointingly rejected these proposals, a move which is deeply irresponsible and lets down millions of people across the country. The Government’s response was centred on obesity but worryingly completely omitted other crucial health issues such as diabetes and dental health.
“Children’s tooth extractions cost the NHS around £30 million per year with the key cause being tooth decay. Within his proposals, Mr Oliver highlighted the fact that 26,000 primary school aged children were admitted to hospital due to tooth decay last year and by rejecting these proposals, I believe, more children will be forced to suffer painful and traumatising dental treatment in hospitals.
“We are urging the government to reconsider their decision with increased awareness of the effects of sugar on dental health. Implementing a ‘sugar tax’ would allow payment of the costs of sugar related dental treatments and also make people think twice before buying sugary drinks.
“What is happening right now in dental surgeries and hospitals across the country cannot be allowed to continue. The introduction of a ‘sugar tax’ would go a long way to changing the way we all view sugar. The British Dental Health Foundation will continue to campaign for a ‘sugar tax’ and promote the benefits of a healthy diet on all of our dental health."