sugar tax

How the standard of PE could be at risk from plans to repeal the sugar tax

The UK government may be facing legal challenges over the proposed end to the sugar tax. The UK’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy and similar legislation were developed to reduce the risk of sugar to public health. The proceeds have been invested in the Pupil’s Premium, improving the standard of PE in primary schools across the country.

The PE Premium has given schools the capacity to improve the standard of PE, from employing high-quality external sports coaching to enhancing the standard of teaching through CPD support. The fund was originally worth £160m with the addition of the legacy of London 2012 raising the fund to £320m annually.

The impact of the pandemic is still prevalent for many children. In just two years of consistent lockdowns, the increased health risks have included obesity, reduced cardiovascular health, and mental health problems.

As the cost of living continues to impact families across the country, more than 80% of parents are worried about the impact it will have on their finances. More than a quarter are struggling to pay for PE and sports kits, effectively reducing their children’s ability to engage in regular physical activity.

The fund has given schools the freedom to focus on other areas of schooling or coordinate their physical activity with environmentalism, behaviour management or other academic subjects. Much of the work that has already been done to raise the profile of PE in schools could be destroyed by the repeal of such legislation.

Sources in the Department of Health and Social Care have stated that the plans are a part of an internal summary. They quoted the “unprecedented global economic situation” as a reason to reconsider the levy. Yet for the NHS, the risk that the reported £5.1 billion already spent on the care of obesity-related illness could increase is ever-present.

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