David Cameron can expect an angry phone call from Jamie Oliver tonight, after it was revealed that the government is unlikely to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.
The Department of Health has announced that the tax is unlikely to go ahead as part of the forthcoming childhood obesity strategy, which has just been delayed for a fourth time.
The report was originally scheduled for release in December, before being pushed back to January, and then February. It is now set to be released sometime in the summer, according to the Department of Health. It is unlikely to include the much-hyped sugar tax, which has been the subject of a high profile campaign led by TV chef Oliver.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health told The Guardian the government is committed to keeping taxes low and not introducing new taxes, including a tax on sugary drinks.
Health charities have already hit out at the government, accusing politicians of failing children.
David Cameron has called children’s obesity a crisis and yet the government has failed the next generation by stalling on one of its own health priorities,” said Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research UK. “While the government delays, more children will become obese.
“To help prevent thousands of cancer cases we want a ban on junk food ads during family viewing times, a sugary drinks tax and more sugar taken out of food. The future health of our children depends on strong action right now.”
Last year, David Cameron met with Oliver to discuss possible solutions to the obesity crisis, which he described as “an enormous health challenge”.
According to the National Child Measurement Programme, between 2014 and 2-15 a third of 10-11 year olds and a fifth of 4-5 year olds were either overweight or obese.