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Hospital cafés and caterers to be hit with 20% sugar tax, says NHS chief

18 January 2016 by
Hospital cafés and caterers to be hit with 20% sugar tax, says NHS chief

Hospital cafés are to be hit with a 20% sugar tax by the year 2020, according to the head of NHS England.

Chief executive Simon Stevens has said he was seriously considering imposing the tax, which could raise £20m-£40m per year, explaining that the NHS needed to lead by example in combating obesity and poor health.

In an interview with The Guardian, Stevens also called on MPs to take similar action, after Prime Minister David Cameron recently suggested that he wouldn't rule out a sugar tax, according to the BBC today. Previously, the government had said it hadn't seen the need for such a tax.

The hospital café tax would only apply to sugary drinks at first, Stevens said, and would become law throughout cafés, vending machines and catering outlets as contracts came up for renewal, with the money raised going towards improving the health of NHS staff.

Stevens said: "Because of the role that the NHS occupies in national life, all of us working in the NHS have a responsibility not just to support those who look after patients, but also to draw attention to and make the case for some of the wider changes that will actually improve the health of this country."

Stevens joins other campaigners in proposing a sugar tax, including Public Health England, chef and broadcaster Jamie Oliver, founders of healthy fast food group Leon, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, who have introduced a 10p levy on sugary drinks throughout their 33 sites.

Food and Drink Federation welcomes Public Health England's sugar report >>

Jamie Oliver tells MPs to be ‘big and bold' on sugar tax >>

Leon restaurants to introduce sugary drinks levy >>

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