Sugar levy plan mocked as ‘unrealistic’

The measures have been described as an 'unrealistic swansong' from the outgoing PHE official

Sugar levy plan soft drinks can with sugar pouring from it

New sugar levy recommendations from the former Public Health England (PHE) chief medical officer have been mocked by industry experts as unrealistic.

A report published by PHE just after Sally Davies stepped down called for a applying the sugar levy to other products, threatening manufacturers with plain packaging, requiring convenience stores to provide free water, reducing portion sizes on food-to-go lines, a ban on eating on public transport and an “urgent review” of VAT after Brexit. The health expert also suggested restrictions on flavoured vaping products.

Read more: Customers refuse to change habits due to sugar levy

Davies said children were “drowning in a flood of unhealthy food and drink”. She claimed action was needed as the government is failing its target of halving child obesity by 2030.

However, a policy expert at a leading convenience industry supplier told Better Retailing it was an “unrealistic swansong” of policies she knew were not practical. Speaking at the British Soft Drinks Association’s industry lunch, former BBC political editor Nick Robinson sarcastically suggested they would be Boris Johnson’s flagship policies.

Kamal Thaker, of Stop Shop News in Edgware, argued smaller stores are disproportionately impacted by legislation. “If it is introduced, I think stores smaller than 1,000sq ft should be exempt because they are less able to manage the change,” he explained.

Read more: Scottish retailers levy the sugar levy to increase sales


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