By GRAHAME ANDERSON
The sugar tax will come into effect in the UK on 6 April to target population obesity. It's hoped younger adults will fully benefit, though the often controversial, measure is aimed at people of all ages to help reduce the adverse health and cost burdens of diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
The Tax Broken Down
There will be two bands to the Sugar-sweetened beverages tax or SSBs - one for soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, and a higher one for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml. The measure will not apply to all other high-sugar content drinks, like juices, or drinks made up of 75 per cent milk, though all are regarded as potentially dangerous to health.
Sugar has been found to carry low satiety, with the result of stimulating the appetite and assisting the promotion of weight gain. Intake of SSBs has been shown to result in dramatic increases in blood glucose and insulin concentrations. This contributes to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, independently of obesity. In fact, based on scientific evidence The World Health Organisation has recommended a reduction of free sugars consumption from less than 10 per cent, to less than five per cent of total daily energy intake.
Dr Max Davie, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "The sugary drinks affected by this tax have no nutritional benefit, often containing levels of sugar well above a child's daily recommended limit. These drinks are a major contributor to the high sugar intakes of children, particularly teenagers, and we are in no doubt that they are, in part, contributing to this country's obesity crisis."
Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, disagrees saying: "There is no evidence worldwide taxes of this sort reduce obesity, and it is ironic soft drinks are being singled out for tax, when we've led the way in reducing sugar intake, down over 17 per cent since 2012.”
Such a tax in Mexico, France and Hungary has been hugely successful with purchases of sugary drinks decreasing between six to 27 per cent after the tax was applied. In the case of France and Hungary however, apart from all types of sugar sweetened drinks, both biscuits and confectionery products are all subject to extra taxation. The Organics council claims we will only be pretending to emulate success abroad as the UK legislation stands. In terms of reaching the daily limit - one 250ml drink of apple juice or the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar will suffice. But of course, many people go well over this without even realising.
Organics Council’s science committee member Dr Gonzalo Delgado says: “When it comes to public health policy decisions, it's essential these are based in solid scientific evidence. Sugar taxes can be useful to decrease sugar consumption, but they need to target all high sugar content and artificial sweetened foods, not only soft drinks as in the UK case. Consumers, and people in general, need to be well informed about current scientific knowledge, so they can make the correct choices in regard of their nutrition and health.”
Malcolm Clark, a coordinator for the Children’s Food Campaign certainly agrees with the sentiments of the council stating: “The sugary drinks tax in its present form will not solve the UK’s childhood obesity crisis. We need other policy interventions including restrictions on marketing.”
And for those looking to artificial sweeteners, experts say they are certainly not free of calories and also linked to glucose intolerance, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the levy could add 18p to 24p to the price of a litre of fizzy drink, if the full cost is passed on to the consumer.
For further information around how The Organics Council work to protect the public through organic practice, research and campaigning, please visit the official website at www.organicscouncil.orgRead more
By GRAHAME ANDERSON
Prime Minister Theresa May has admitted UK university fees were the world's most expensive on launching a review of the cost of courses. In the majority of cases Universities charge £9,250 per year, with most students graduating financially toward spiralling debt as a result. She did however, rule out scrapping tuition fees, also citing it wouldn't be fair on taxpayers who didn't go to university. “It would leave higher education in a losing struggle for funding with schools and hospitals, she said: “And it would mean limiting university places and funding.”
The Labour party are in favour of scrapping fees as things stand. Tuition fee architect the Labour peer Lord Adonis, called for a return to fees of £3,000 a year saying: “Universities have become extremely bloated, due to the hike in fees, resulting in sky-high salaries for vice chancellors and management staff.”
A Complicated System?
Things are further complicated given the connection to the loan system underpinning the market, with companies pushing up interest charges. The highest current rate is standing at 6.1 per cent. In light of this the Government could well decide to drastically reduce the rate.
Rather than creating a new system it seems more likely the current one will be changed, though the Government would like to encourage a variation in fees across the board. As an example, according to education experts, courses - such as arts and humanities - could be made cheaper than sciences, which are more expensive to deliver, and where graduate earnings are potentially much higher.
This also means students will still be required to pay fees as a starting point, though ideas of a graduate tax are being pushed to one side. It's not all about full time students either, with ministers aware more support is needed for those wanting to work and study at the same time. Vocational and technical training could also receive more support.
Yorkshire has some excellent universities with three here given all round scores made up of entry standards, student satisfaction, graduate prospects and overall quality.
Leeds currently stands 14th in the university league table with a score of 850. The university of Bradford meanwhile is in 58th position carrying a score of 675, with Huddersfield sitting in 72nd place on a total of 635.
Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Unit, said: “The Prime Minister's review team had enormous expectations on their shoulders. There is a long shopping list of demands for reducing fees, and at the same time increasing levels of support. The Government has encouraged this speculation, but it will be hard to satisfy all the hopes, especially if the Treasury is not willing to allow additional public spending on post-compulsory education.
It's reported the Government has been impressed by the Welsh system, whereby students receive greater maintenance support while studying.
Sally Hunt, leader of the UCU lecturers’ union, stated: “The review must be more than tinkering at the edges. There needs to be a fundamental review of university funding.”
The Russell Group of leading universities has warned any changes to fees and funding should not mean places suddenly become limited. A spokesperson said: “Finding the right balance is likely to involve making a series of difficult trade-offs.”
This Government-led review will examine all aspects of student funding, including maintenance grants. The current rate of fees will stay in place at least until the application cycle for 2020-21, in the light of both the freeze on fee rises and this year-long review.
By Sonia RANDEV
FA Cup Fourth Round
Liverpool 2 West Brom 3
A first half full of plenty of action which most won’t forget in a hurry. Roberto Firmino missed a penalty for the reds and due to VAR there was a delay in awarding the Baggies a third goal. Concerns were raised with the new technology splitting the opinions of football fans across the country.
West Brom Manager Alan Pardew spoke to BBC Sport regarding the issue:
"In the stadium, it was bizarre, because we got no evidence of what happened.”
Liverpool crashed out of the FA Cup and West Brom is through to the fifth round.
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0
The Blues ease through to the fifth round after defeating Newcastle at Stamford Bridge earlier today
Cardiff City 0 Man city 2
Man City has now booked a place in the fifth round.
Reading Women hold Arsenal Women to a goalless draw in their FA WSL 1 clash today at Adams Park.
Man City Women maintained their two point lead at the top of the table by beating Sunderland away.
Chelsea Ladies beat Everton Ladies to keep the pressure on Man City Women.
Birmingham City Ladies moved into the top half of the league by seeing of Yeovil Town at home, scoring three goals.
Liverpool Ladies get two pass Bristol City with newly appointed England Women’s head coach Phil Neville watching from the stands.
Delhi Senior Women’s Cricket team win T20 elite super league
Delhi emerged as winners of the tournament with a nine wicket win over Goa who failed to win a single game in the four team super league.
India Cricket Team retain ICC Test Mace
Captain Virat Kohli will be presented with the the mace, which is a symbol of excellence and a recognition of a side’s outstanding performance in the Test format. Source and photo credit: BCCI
Saturday 3rd October will see the highly anticipated domestic bout between Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain. North London and South London will collide as the two cruiserweights will battle it out in a sold out O2 arena. The fight is co promoted by Matchroom boxing and Anthony Joshua who manages the former Olympian Okolie.
Frank warren made an announcement last week stating that the 10th February boxing event at the Copper Box arena has been cancelled due to injuries.
The show was to feature up and coming talent from across the UK with British Asian welterweight boxer Hamzah Sheeraz set to fight in his second professional bout since turning pro last year.
The show has now been moved to the 24th February at the iconic York Hall where Sheeraz is likely to feature on the card.
By Sonia RANDEV
U-19 India Cricket team storm into semi-final showdown against Pakistan
India made a statement by beating Bangladesh by 131 runs to land a tantalising semi-final against arch enemies Pakistan.
The three times Under-19 World Cup champions put on a fine display with Captain Prithvi Shaw winning the toss and opting to bat first. Vice-captain Shubnam Gill was once again in the thick of the runs scoring his third consecutive fifty.
Bangladesh put on a brave fight with Qazi Onik eventually taking Gill out. As they took to the batting field it was only Pinak Ghosh who top scored with 43 for Bangladesh.
As one of the tournament favourites, India just proved too much and will now face Pakistan on Tuesday in Christchurch.
England lose by three wickets to Australia bringing their lead in the ODI series to 3-1
FA Cup Fourth Round: Friday
Sheffield Wednesday 3 Reading 1
Yeovil Town faced Manchester United last night with Alexis Sanchez putting on a fine display in his debut for the Reds. The score ended 4-0 to Manchester United.
FA Cup Fourth Round Results:Today
Leicester 5 Peterborough 1
Southampton 1 Watford 0
Coventry 1 MK dons 0
Hull City 2 Nottm Forest 1
Millwall 2 Rochdale 2
Sheff United 1 Preston 0
Middlesbrough 0 Brighton 1
Huddersfield 1 Birmingham 1
Notts County 1 Swansea 1
Wigan Athletic 2 West Ham 0
Newport County 1 Tottenham 1
Liverpool v West Brom kick off at 19.45pm tonight
Main Photo Credit: BBC SportRead more
NBA fever hits London town
By Sonia RANDEV
This month saw the NBA hit the O2 arena in spectacular fashion as the Boston Celtics faced the Philadelphia 76ers in front of a packed out venue attracting a host of celebrities and sports stars from around the globe.
An annual event that sits as a firm favorite with fans and now in its eighth NBA season in London did not fail to disappoint.
The 76ers were ahead with a points lead of 49-27, prompting Celtics to come back fighting. Jaylen Brown hit 21 points, Marcus Morris with 19 and former NBA Rookie of the year and NBA Champion with the Cavaliers Kyrie Irving added 20 to the tally.
Australian born Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and JJ Redick all added to the 76ers score card but as the game heated up going into the final quarter the Celtics emerged victorious ending the game with a final score of 114-103.
Photo Credit:NBA UK and Getty ImagesRead more