The Government has rejected calls from almost 150,000 people to introduce a sugar tax following an online petition initiated by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Oliver, a long-time campaigner for healthy eating, is calling for a 7p sugar tax per regular-sized can of any soft drink with added sugar in a bid to tackle the UK’s rising childhood obesity crisis.

The petition, launched on the UK parliament’s website, attracted 144,484 signatures – enough to spark a parliamentary debate on the issue.

However, the Government has responded saying that it has “no plans to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages”.

“The Government has committed to a tax lock to avoid raising the cost of living and to promote UK productivity and economic growth, however, the Government keeps all taxes under review,” the statement continued.

Instead, it said it is looking at a range of options around tackling childhood obesity and would announce plans by the end of the year. Campaigners are now waiting for a date for a debate on the issue to be announced.