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Doctors call for 20% tax on sugary soft drinks

Doctors have called on the Government to introduce a 20% tax on non-alcoholic drinks sweetened with sugar.

The BMA suggested some 180,000 people could benefit from being discouraged to buy drinks high in calories and low in nutritional value.

The money raised from the tax could be used to subsidise the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, the BMA went on to propose.

The BMA further called for academies and free schools to be bound by the same strict nutritional regulations as state schools.

Doctors are growing ‘increasingly concerned’ about the effects of poor diets on UK population health with obesity-related illness alone costing the taxpayer £6bn per year, the BMA’s ‘Food for Thought’ report said.

Professor Sheila Hollins, BMA board of science chair, suggested the tax will not only reduce obesity, but will ‘help redress the imbalance’ in the cost of healthy and unhealthy food products.

Professor Hollins said: ‘If a tax of at least 20 per cent is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people.’