Leisure operator to become first in UK to introduce sugar tax

25th July 2016

The health and wellbeing charity which operates 11 sports and leisure venues in Sheffield is set to lead the UK by being the first to introduce the government's sugar tax initiative on unhealthy fizzy drinks.

In a ground-breaking move, Sheffield City Trust is adding a 20p charge to all drinks with added sugar sold at cafes and vending machines in its SIV leisure facilities. SIV, part of the not-for-profit Sheffield City Trust, will reinvest every penny in obesity and diabetes prevention programmes for young people, pledging a minimum of £25,000 to the initiative. In May 2016, the chancellor George Osbourne announced a new sugar tax on the soft drinks industry aimed at high-sugar drinks. The move was endorsed by the health community and the most high-profile supporter has been TV chef Jamie Oliver, who has introduced a sugar levy in his restaurants. SIV is part of the not-for-profit Sheffield City Trust whose primary objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of Sheffield people by providing facilities for sport and leisure activities. It operates facilities including the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Hillsborough Leisure Centre, iceSheffield, Beauchief Golf Course, Concord Sports Centre and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield. Steve Brailey MBE, chief executive of SIV, said: -SIV has always been an industry leader and a forward-thinking leisure trust and we are proud to be the first leisure operator in the UK to make this bold move. -Obesity is a major issue in Sheffield with more than half of all adults obese or overweight and this is contributing to an alarming rise in Type 2 Diabetes. The sugar tax is one of a number of projects SIV is delivering to improve the health and wellbeing of Sheffield people. -Unlike a chocolate bar, cake or bag of crisps, drinks are not automatically seen as a treat and people who drink them tend to have them every day. -Some of these drinks are incredibly high in sugar with no nutritional benefits. A typical can contains enough sugar - about nine teaspoons - to take someone over their recommended sugar intake in one hit. -By introducing the sugar tax, we hope to shift customer demand from fizzy to healthy alternatives. And, by reinvesting all money generated through the tax in new health projects, further improve the health and wellbeing of Sheffield people. Greg Fell, Sheffield's Director of Public Health, said: -People can improve their health by cutting down on the amount of sugar they eat and drink. Small changes can make a big difference. -I think it's great that SIV is trying something new and will be reinvesting money into new health projects. More information and easy tips about how to cut down on sugar is available through the 'Let's get sugar smart' campaign at www.nhs.uk/change4life-beta/campaigns/sugar-smart. The initiative will be introduced from Monday 25 July. For more information visit www.sheffieldcitytrust.co.uk.

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