The idea of a sugar tax is - predictably - deeply unpopular with food and drink manufacturers / Getty Images

Impact on diets could prevent 50,000 cases of diabetes

A tax on sugary drinks could dramatically cuts cases of diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer, and save the NHS millions every year, children’s health campaigners have claimed.

As well as bringing in revenue for the Treasury, a tax of 20 pence on every litre of sugary drink sold in England could also save the NHS £15m a year, research by the Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) said.

In 20 years, the impact on diets could prevent 50,000 cases of diabetes, cut almost 9,000 cases of bowel cancer and cut coronary heart disease and stroke by 33,000, it said.


Soft drinks and energy drinks are the main source of sugar for teenagers. The Government’s diet advisors recently recommended that daily recommended amounts of sugar be halved, from 10 per cent of energy intake to five per cent, amid growing evidence of its impact on Britain’s obesity epidemic.

However, the idea of a sugar tax is deeply unpopular with the food and drink manufacturers, who say it would have no impact the population’s health.

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drink Association the CFC’s estimates were “flawed”. “The overwhelming evidence suggests that ill-health is linked to a range of factors including lifestyle, levels of exercise and overall diet. A tax on soft drinks would adversely impact the poorest in society while doing nothing to curb obesity,” he said.