sugar cubes

A tax, not a deterrent

Sir, The positive news that children are eating less sugar (‘Calls for sugar tax to be dropped as children’s intake shown to have fallen,’, 12 September) highlights the complexities of tackling childhood obesity.

A sugar tax is no magic bullet, and won’t have the impact of continuing proactive education programmes that promote healthy lifestyles. Indeed, it’s a levy on industry rather than a real deterrent for consumers.

Technical detail on the soft drinks sugar tax is decidedly absent in the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. What is clear is that an increase in regulation will undermine the UK food and beverage industry at a time when support and stability are required.

Recent figures from Oxford Economics highlight the economic damage this levy could cause - 4,000 job losses and a £132m drop in GDP.

With a new leadership team in charge of the country and the industry struggling with extremely tight margins, surely a rethink is in order.

Jessica Burt, food and beverage lawyer, Mills & Reeve

Unwarranted fears

Sir, I am intrigued to know how consumers claim they go about avoiding foods containing antibiotics and hormones (‘Dietary needs not being met by grocery retailers,’ 28 September).

EU legislation prohibits use of hormones in livestock rearing, and meat is widely tested, showing no issues in the UK at least for antibiotic residues, as they can only be used on the strength of a veterinary prescription.

Is it the case that ill-informed ‘market research’ with questions framed from a position of ignorance actually causes these unwarranted fears in the general public? In answer to my own question, the best way to avoid antibiotics and hormones in food is to buy UK/EU food - recognised worldwide for the most detailed and effective food safety legislation.

Simon Williams, via

Always room for cash

Sir, With online sales and contactless payment options increasing, cash is becoming less relevant, but that doesn’t make it obsolete (‘Will a cashless UK make the new fiver redundant?’, 20 September). In the past two weeks I’ve seen two instances of B&M businesses having to resort to cash because their equipment was down - a reminder there is room for cash even in a more digital society.

Danielle Pinnington, via