UK,
06
April
2018
|
18:42
Europe/London

Three-quarters of Britons claim education is more effective than taxation, as sugar tax comes into force

Summary

•Simplyhealth research released today reveals that nearly seven in ten (67%) UK adults think education is more effective than taxation when encouraging healthy life choices

•This is backed by 69% of parents/guardians of children of any age

•Nearly seven in ten (68%) of adults think people should have the freedom of choice, even if this choice adversely impacts their health

•More than half (59%) of UK adults support the new levy

Education would be more effective than taxation when it comes to encouraging healthy lifestyles say two-thirds (67%) of the nation’s adults, according to latest statistics from everyday healthcare company Simplyhealth.

The survey figures* from YouGov and Simplyhealth have been released today ahead of the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, known as the ‘sugar tax’, which comes into force on 6th April 2018.

Support for education is also backed by 69% of parents/guardians who when asked about encouraging a healthy lifestyle in general, think it would be more effective to do this than taxation.

The results also reveal that nearly seven in ten (68%) people think the Government has a responsibility to encourage people into making healthy lifestyle choices, yet 68% of adults also think everyone should have the freedom of choice, even if this adversely impacts their health.

More than half (59%) of people support the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks, while a quarter (21%) of people say paying a little bit extra won’t bother them if they want a sugary drink. This figure rises to 28% of 18-24 year olds. Only a fifth of (20%) of respondents oppose the introduction of the sugar tax.

Plans for the tax on sugary beverages were announced in the Government’s 2016 budget in response to the nation’s alarming levels of obesity and poor oral health.

Under the new levy, drinks with a sugar content over five but below eight grams of sugar per 100ml will see 18p added to the price of the drink per litre, and drinks containing over eight grams of sugar per 100ml will face an increase of 24p per litre.

While it’s encouraging to see that the majority of people support the new levy, it appears there is a need for more education to promote a better understanding of the urgent need to address the alarming levels of obesity and poor oral health – particularly those of children - in the UK.
 
It’s concerning that one in five people say they would not be deterred by potential price increases of sugary drinks, particularly 18-24 year olds, which suggests there is a need to invest in education and teach young people the importance of healthy dietary choices from a young age. Sugary drinks are a leading cause of tooth decay and acid erosion and offer little to no nutritional value.
 
Henry Clover, Chief Dental Officer at Simplyhealth
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* Online survey conducted YouGov on behalf of Simplyhealth. Total sample size was 5,264 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th -19th February 2018. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).