As the debate over sugar and the proposed tax related to it continues, one famous figure has lent his support to the campaign.
The television chef Jamie Oliver has urged government ministers to introduce such a sugar tax on fizzy drinks.
Speaking to members of parliament at the House of Commons’ Health Committee, Oliver suggested that a tax would be the “single most important” change that could be made.
It is suggested that added sugar in food and drinks is one of the major contributors to the obesity epidemic worldwide.
This has seen the number of overweight people in the Western world in particular skyrocket in the last few decades.
According to official figures, over 60 per cent of adults in the United Kingdom are currently overweight, with approximately one-third being clinically obese.
Naturally this contributes to a wide variety of health problems, and is probably the single greatest factor in premature deaths in the United Kingdom.
It has been estimated by government sources that a 20 per cent sugar tax could raise as much as £1 billion per year.
Oliver suggested while speaking to MPs that the money raised could be shared between the NHS and primary school funding.
Commenting on the suggestion of the television chef, the Department of Health took a predictably neutral tone.
“The causes of obesity are complex, caused by a number of dietary, lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors, and tackling it will require a comprehensive and broad approach. As such, the government is considering a range of options for tackling childhood obesity,” a Department of Health spokesman stated.
While many experts support the idea of a sugar tax, there are certainly arguments against such a scheme.
Rather in common with the recent decision to charge 5p per plastic bag in large retail outlets, the scheme could simply be viewed as a money-spinning idea, with little or no practical benefits to the amount of sugar being consumed.
Ultimately, with a can of soda costing around 70p, even a 20 per cent tax would only necessitate a price rise of around 15p.
It is extremely doubtful that this would have a significant impact on the amount of sugary drinks that are actually consumed, just as charging 5p a carrier bag may have little or no impact on the amount of plastic bags utilised.
Regardless of the legitimacy or otherwise of taxing sugary drinks, there will certainly be a strong lobby against the idea.
The food industry is naturally an incredibly powerful entity, and lobbyists representing some of the more powerful corporations on the planet will doubtlessly argue strongly against the idea of taxing sugar.
Whether or not this will ultimately prove to be successful remains to be seen, but it certainly appears possible that we will see an increase in price of unhealthy beverages in the foreseeable future.