Karen Middleton has called for the government to publish its childhood obesity strategy as a matter of urgency.
Karen Middleton says sugar tax revenue should be ring-fenced for public health
The CSP chief executive said she wanted the strategy to be accompanied by a clear implementation plan and additional funding to make it happen.
The strategy was due to have been launched last December. It was rescheduled for January, but slipped to March. A spokesperson for the Department of Health told Frontline that it will now be published this summer.
According to reports, campaigners have said that it is unlikely to include a sugar tax, along the lines of the 20 pence per litre sugary drinks duty called for by the Children’s Food Campaign.
Ms Middleton supports a tax to reduce sugar consumption, especially among children and younger people. She said: ‘We want to see revenue from the sugar tax ring-fenced for public health.’
Her comments came as Cancer Research UK published research into how junk food advertising can influence children’s eating habits. It found that children described junk food advertising as ‘tempting’ and ‘addictive’.
The charity has called for regulations to stop junk food advertising on television before the 9pm watershed to give children a better chance of a healthy life.
Meanwhile, a Health Service Journal investigation found that many local authorities are planning to cut spending on public health services for children, worth £50.5 million in 2016-17.
Ms Middleton said: ‘These figures are a wake-up call for the government. While huge consensus exists about the need to prioritise prevention and public health, cuts are hampering attempts to both maintain current services and deliver new ones.’
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