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17.10.16

Councils call for power to administer soft drinks levy

The sugar levy on soft drinks should be distributed to councils in order to administer it among schools, the LGA has said.

The government promised to introduce the levy as one of the commitments in its childhood obesity strategy, which was published after delays and criticised for not going far enough to address the problem.

The income, estimated to be £520m in its first year, will be spent on health programmes for children, such as sports programmes and breakfast clubs.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “We support the government's intention of investing the money raised from the proposed soft drinks levy in physical activity and breakfast clubs.

“But it is councils that are uniquely placed to work with schools, parents, businesses and the voluntary sector to ensure that funding goes to where it is needed most in the fight against child obesity.

“This is why we’re saying to government: ‘give us the reins’.”

The LGA also said that giving the money to councils would help make up shortfalls in their public health budgets, which face annual real-terms cuts of 3.9% for the next five years.

(Image c. PA Wire/Press Association Images)

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