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Sugar-Coating a Tax

by Children’s Food Campaign, Jamie Oliver and Obesity Health Alliance

Summary of work

Sugar-Coating a Tax

Shockingly, a third of English children are overweight or obese. Teenagers consume three times more sugar than recommended – and sugary drinks are the biggest culprits. A can of cola contains a whopping seven teaspoons of sugar –more than a child’s daily upper limit. Yet, securing meaningful regulation on sugar has been an incredible challenge for health campaigners. Back in 2015, the demand for a sugary drinks tax was undeniably gathering momentum but Westminster wasn’t budging. Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign, Obesity Health Alliance members and Jamie Oliver worked together to turn a niche public health policy into a political win.

Even once the soft drinks levy was finally announced in 2016, the battle was far from over. The big guns of the soft drinks industry launched a sustained and powerful effort to derail the policy. The situation was already highly charged, but the 2017 snap election raised tensions even further. The Finance Bill (due to include the levy) was pared right back to basics and rushed through parliament. Thanks to a coordinated and consistent advocacy effort the levy was passed, coming into force in April 2018. This is a landmark policy which is set to improve children’s health and pave the way for further population health measures.

Judges' comments

The Children’s Food Campaign, Jamie Oliver and Obesity Health Alliance all came together to focus on achieving the same result. It stood out for the judges because it is such a massive campaign in terms of government intervention and changing public perception. It achieved change in policy, but is actually already getting results before the policy is finalised.


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Category Sponsors

Dr Richard White, MP PhD, Oxford PharmaGenesis - Communiqué Judge

Key dates

Entry deadline 11 March 2022
Extended entry deadline 18 March 2022
(additional fee applies)
Judging days May 2022
Awards Ceremony 7th July 2022

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