Jamie Oliver and Leon call on restaurants to impose sugary drinks tax

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Jamie Oliver and Leon call on restaurants to impose sugary drinks tax

Related tags Nutrition

Jamie Oliver and campaign group Sustain have today (4 September) launched a Children’s Health Fund to encourage restaurants and cafes to impose a tax on sugary drinks.

The chef made headlines earlier this year when he imposed a 10p tax on sugary drinks at all Jamie’s UK restaurants, including the 41-strong Jamie’s’ Italian brand.

Now Oliver is encouraging other businesses to follow suit, with all additional profits raised from the levy to be used to fund children’s health initiatives.

Healthy fast-food chains Leon and Abokado have already signed up, with other restaurants reportedly in ‘final discussions’ to join the campaign.

Leon predicts that it will raise an additional £50,000 over the next year from the added charge.

Oliver and Sustain have also launched a petition calling on the UK government to introduce a tax on sugary drinks nationwide.

“I’ve spoken to some of the brightest people in the medical world over the last few years and they all agree that action is urgently needed if we don’t want the NHS to crumble completely because of the costs of diet-related disease like type-2 diabetes,” said Oliver.

“One doctor recently told me that diet-related disease is one of the defining crises of our time.  We need the government to step up.”

The group has cited research from the British Medical and Dental Associations which supports imposing a tax of 7p per regular sized can.

It believes this could generate an additional £1bn a year which could be used to tackle childhood obesity and diet related diseases.

If over 100,000 people sign the petition the Government will have to consider debating the issue in parliament.

Ben Reynolds, of Sustain, said: “While [the Government] are dithering, we are really excited that the restaurant sector is taking the lead, showing that it can be done.”

John Vincent, Leon co-founder and CEO, called the addiction of brands and consumers to sugar a ‘human crisis’.

He said: “I hope Leon is the first of many restaurants to join Jamie in adding a 10p levy to sugary drinks and create this positive change. We’re very interested to hear our customers’ views on whether this is the right way to do so.”

The group's petition can be viewed here.

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