The NHS is set to introduce a new 20% ‘sugar tax’ within hospital and health care centre cafes in England, in an effort to combat obesity.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has proposed that the new levy on all sugary drinks and snacks in NHS cafes and vending machines will be introduced in stages, and should be in place by 2020.
The new tax is aimed at deterring people from purchasing high-sugar goods, and is designed to help tackle the increasing problem of obesity.
Mr Stevens has also urged MPs to take action by forcing food companies to reduce the amount of sugar going into their products.
Despite initially voicing his opposition to the idea, Prime Minister David Cameron has now stated that he will not rule out a national tax on sugar.
Public Health England recently explored new measures to address the issue of obesity and to reduce sugar consumption, including a new levy on goods that contain excess amounts of sugar.
Mr Stevens stated: ‘Because of the role that the NHS occupies in national life, all of us working in the NHS have a responsibility not just to support those who look after patients, but to also draw attention to and make the case for some of the wider changes that will actually improve the health of this country’.
The money raised from the tax would be channelled back into the NHS, helping to improve the health of the service’s workforce.