The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed the Welsh Government’s leadership on the sugar crisis, as the Senedd became the first parliament or assembly in the UK to back a sugar tax.
Assembly Members voted 38-10 in favour of measures that could see a 20 per cent levy placed on sugary drinks. The Assembly does not currently have the powers to impose new taxes, such as the sugar tax; however, the Wales Act 2014 has given the devolved government power to introduce new devolved taxes, with agreement from the UK government.
The BDA has been a leading advocate of action on sugar, including levies on products containing nutrient-free added sugars. Tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions among young children across the UK.
Mick Armstrong, Chair of the British Dental Association, said: “Finally we’re seeing some real leadership on the sugar crisis from our elected representatives. Britain is addicted to sugar, and if we’re going to break that habit, it will require politicians in Westminster, Edinburgh and Belfast to pick up the trail set by pioneers in Cardiff Bay.
“Sugar has placed a huge and avoidable burden on our NHS. It’s nothing short of a national scandal that we’re seeing children lining up in our hospitals for tooth extractions, and we need parents, business and policymakers to take action. This vote demonstrated the Welsh Government is prepared to do its bit, even if it means going where other governments fear to tread.
“A sugar tax is not a silver bullet, but together with action on public education, reformulation and marketing we can start changing habits and improving health. Ministers across the UK will be failing in their duty to the public if they take any of these measures off the table.”