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Jamie Oliver adds voice to growing calls for sugar tax

MINISTERS must be “brave” and introduce a sugar levy on fizzy drinks in order to combat obesity, TV chef Jamie Oliver (pictured) has claimed.

A 20% levy would raise around £1bn, he said as he told MPs to be “big and bold” in their approach to tackling childhood obesity.

“Who is running this country? The businesses who are profiting from ill health or is it us?”, he asked.

Such a move would be “deeply symbolic” as well as raising money, he added, before going on to suggest the proceeds be divided between the NHS and primary schools.

His calls come after Scottish ministers were told a tax on sugary products could fund a 2p cut in income tax in Scotland.

However, indications are that the introduction of such a levy could prove difficult after the government’s commitment to a ‘triple lock’ on income tax, national insurance and VAT.

The Department for Health told the BBC: “The government has committed to a tax lock to avoid raising the cost of living and to promote UK productivity and economic growth.

“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.”

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