Let Councils Decide How Sugar Levy Is Spent

lga

The sugar levy on soft drinks should be administered by councils, who are best placed to work with schools and communities to fight childhood obesity, council leaders say today.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils, says rather than schools receiving the funding directly, local authority public health teams would ensure the money is invested where it is needed most.

In its response to the Government’s consultation on introducing a Soft Drinks Industry Levy as part of its new childhood obesity plan, the LGA says councils cannot be left out of deciding how and where it is spent.

With the sugar levy expected to raise £520 million in the first year, councils argue they are “uniquely placed” to tackle obesity, given their links to local health, community and voluntary services, as well as schools.

The LGA says councils estimate they will have spent £505 million by 2017 tackling obesity.

This includes the costs of running the Government’s National Child Measurement Programme in schools, as well as programmes such as weight management services, exercise referral schemes and offering free or reduced-cost sport.

However the cuts to councils’ public health budgets mean they will be spending less on fighting obesity in adults and children in 2016/17 and could hamper their efforts to tackle the issue.

The funding from the proposed sugar levy could help plug this shortfall, if local government was given the power to administer it.

Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, 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’.

“Local authority public health teams are the people on the ground fighting obesity all year round, and the ones who know their communities best.

“They will have spent more than half a billion pounds tackling obesity since responsibility for public health transferred to councils three years ago, which illustrates the huge scale of the prevention work they are carrying out.

“For this reason, we feel councils should be given a central role in ensuring the money is spent in the most effective way, and that we are able to help the Government realise its ambition of reducing obesity.”

The sugar levy on soft drinks should be administered by councils, who are best placed to work with schools and communities to fight childhood obesity, council leaders say today.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils, says rather than schools receiving the funding directly, local authority public health teams would ensure the money is invested where it is needed most.

In its response to the Government’s consultation on introducing a Soft Drinks Industry Levy as part of its new childhood obesity plan, the LGA says councils cannot be left out of deciding how and where it is spent.

With the sugar levy expected to raise £520 million in the first year, councils argue they are “uniquely placed” to tackle obesity, given their links to local health, community and voluntary services, as well as schools.

The LGA says councils estimate they will have spent £505 million by 2017 tackling obesity.

This includes the costs of running the Government’s National Child Measurement Programme in schools, as well as programmes such as weight management services, exercise referral schemes and offering free or reduced-cost sport.

However the cuts to councils’ public health budgets mean they will be spending less on fighting obesity in adults and children in 2016/17 and could hamper their efforts to tackle the issue.

The funding from the proposed sugar levy could help plug this shortfall, if local government was given the power to administer it.

Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, 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’.

“Local authority public health teams are the people on the ground fighting obesity all year round, and the ones who know their communities best.

“They will have spent more than half a billion pounds tackling obesity since responsibility for public health transferred to councils three years ago, which illustrates the huge scale of the prevention work they are carrying out.

“For this reason, we feel councils should be given a central role in ensuring the money is spent in the most effective way, and that we are able to help the Government realise its ambition of reducing obesity.”