Local Government Association says that junk food tax 'should be used to fight obesity'

The NHS is spending £1 million an hour on diabetes: a tenth of its annual budget

Political Correspondent

The Treasury should divert £1 billion from the annual £5 billion it raises from VAT on junk foods, confectionery and unhealthy takeaways and allow local government authorities to use the cash to tackle the causes of Britain’s obesity crisis.

The radical policy call by the Local Government Association (LGA) – which was given responsibility for improving public health last year – claims it can make the money “work harder” at preventing the rise of obesity and the related epidemic of type 2 diabetes.

The cost of tackling obesity for the National Health Service is estimated at £5 billion. Although there has been a renewed focus on interventions, such as weight-loss surgery, the LGA says not enough is being done on early prevention and creating healthier lifestyles.

The NHS is spending £1 million an hour on diabetes, a tenth of its annual budget. The LGA wants the Treasury to top up its current £2.8 billion public health budget for England and Wales by diverting 20 per cent of the VAT raised from so-called “sin tax” foodstuffs, such as confectionery and takeaways.

An LGA spokesman said “radical action was needed and an obesity action fund would deliver extra money for councils already commissioning weight-management services, exercise referral schemes and extending the offer of reduced-cost or free sport”.

LGA chairman, David Sparks, added: “By taking a slice of VAT we could help transform the lives and futures of obese and overweight people.”

New draft guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are aiming to reduce the debilitating complications of type 2 diabetes by expanding those eligible for weight-loss surgery.

Currently only those with life-threatening obesity qualify for surgery on the NHS. However, by lowering the qualification level, there are fears that the NHS may struggle to fund the additional cases.

The LGA says that although the new NICE guidelines may be necessary, the focus on obesity is in the wrong place.

The Treasury were contacted last night and asked for their reaction to the LGA’s proposal. No comment was received.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

    Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee