Health campaigners are urging the UK sugar tax to be extended to sweets and not just soft drinks in a bid to tackle obesity.
The charity Action on Sugar has released a manifesto outlining what it thinks are among the biggest threats to the health of the nation.
Among the points, the group is calling on the government to force confectionery manufacturers to cut the amount sugar their products contain.
The UK sugar tax, which will be introduced next year, will include two bands, one for total sugar content in drinks above 5g per 100 millilitres and a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8g per 100 millilitres.
Action on Sugar said sweets and chocolate account for nine per cent of sugar which is consumed by children aged between four and 10. The amount goes up to 11 per cent for young people aged between 11 and 18.
The number of children at primary school who are considered obese is currently one in 10. There are fears those numbers could increase unless urgent action is taken to curb obesity rates, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Graham McGregor, Action on Sugar’s chairma, said: “Action on Sugar is urging the next government to implement a mandatory sugar levy on all confectionery products that contain high levels of sugar to ensure maximum impact to help tackle the obesity and type 2 diabetes crisis.
“The levy should be structured by the Treasury as per the soft drinks industry levy, whereby it is aimed at manufacturers to encourage them to reduce sugar in their overall product ranges,” added McGregor. “The next government needs to bring in tough measures to ensure compliance and put public health before the profits of the food industry.”
Dentists have also backed the campaign as reducing children’s sugar content will lower tooth decay rates.
Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Associatio, said: “Ministers keep giving the impression that it’s ‘mission accomplished’ on sugar controls.
“Dentists are confronting an epidemic of tooth decay and government must show it is prepared to go further on advertising, reformulation targets and through the tax system.”

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