Parliamentary briefing: Westminster Hall debate on sugary drinks tax

The RCP supports the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to improve health and reduce levels of obesity and overweight conditions. This briefing outlines some key statistics on the prevalence of obesity in the UK, its financial cost to the NHS, and summarises the effectiveness of taxes on sugary drinks around the world.

The briefing was produced ahead of the Westminster Hall debate on 30 November 2015 triggered by e-petition 106651 relating to a tax on sugary drinks.


  • A significant proportion of the UK is obese or overweight, which has significant health implications for individuals and places a financial burden on the NHS.
  • Sugar-sweetened drinks are a large contributing factor in obesity, particularly among children.
  • Evidence suggests that price policies applied to food can influence what consumers buy and could contribute to improving health by shifting consumption in the desired direction and supporting healthier diets.


For more information please contact Methela Haque, RCP public affairs adviser, via