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
Britain's first female Muslim Lord Mayor was acquitted on Wednesday of Misconduct in a public office by The Court of Appeal in London.
Last year Naveeda Ikram pleaded not guilty to a charge of misconduct in a public office between 1 November 2014 and 31 August 2015. She was accused of seeking contracts for Nexus Assist and failing to declare an interest in that company, while an elected member of Bradford Council. She has always denied any wrongdoing.
Originally, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), alleged she was said to have 'a financial interest' in the success of Nexus Assist Ltd, which helped young people leaving care in Bradford.
As a Labour councillor for Little Horton since 2004, she resigned from the Council on November 15 last year, a day before she would have been automatically removed for failing to attend meetings for six months. This she said, was due to ill health. Ms Ikram was the first Muslim female Lord Mayor of Bradford in 2011-2012.
Case Thrown Out
Even before the half way point, the case against her was dismissed at Leeds Crown Court by Judge Geoffrey Marson QC at the end of last year. He said there was 'no case to answer', because of a lack of evidence. Prosecutors challenged this decision taking the case to the Court of Appeal.
A popular figure in the British-Pakistani community Ms Ikram maintained she had never sought contracts for Nexus, had no financial interest in the company, and 'did not abuse the public's trust in her.'
Court Of Appeal Verdict
At The Court of Appeal Lord Justice Colman Treacy said: There was 'no sustainable evidence' Ikram had sought council contracts on behalf of Nexus, and that Judge Marson was justified in having described the evidence against Ms Ikram as 'wholly insufficient'.
From 2016, despite the intense scrutiny she was placed under from these accusations, Mrs Ikram continued to represent her constituents with the same energy and determination she always had in the preceding 12 years of public service.
Philip Goldberg of Minton Morrill Solicitors, acting on behalf of Ikram, said in a statement:
“Having taken time to consider its decision, the Court of Appeal today rejected the prosecution’s argument that the judge had acted unreasonably in reaching the conclusions he did, accepting the arguments put forward by the defence. The effect of this is that the judge’s conclusion that the defendant should be acquitted on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to justify a conviction stands, and Mrs Ikram has been found not guilty.
“Mrs Ikram has found this period of her life very distressing but would like to thank all of those people who have offered her support over the last two years, especially her husband, family and friends. Mrs Ikram would like to thank publicly her legal team who have represented her throughout the process especially her solicitor Philip Goldberg who headed the defence team at Minton Morrill and her barristers Paul Greaney Q.C. and Nicholas de la Poer.Read more
Counter Terrorism Police North East are investigating reports of vile hate mail which is being circulated in Bradford telling recipients to “punish a Muslim”.
The alarming A4 letters contain a list of violent acts alongside a number of points for performing them on Muslim members of the community on a specific day.
The letters have caused outrage and condemnation from politicians, activists and members of the community.
Tell Mama, UK a charity which monitors hate crime, told the BBC it had received reports of people in Bradford, Leicester, London, Cardiff and Sheffield getting the letters.
"They are asking if they are safe, if their children are safe to play outdoors.
"We have told them to keep calm and to phone the police if they receive one of these letters."
She said a number of the letters had been posted from Sheffield and bore a similarity to letters sent to mosques in the UK and US in May 2017, which were also posted from Sheffield.
"They are inciting violence against the Muslim community," she said.
Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain also condemned the letters and 'condemns hate crimes in all its forms which seek to divide our communities'
He said in his statement: "I have spoken at length to senior police officers including Chief Superintendent Scot Bissett from West Yorkshire Police and with Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster from Counter-Terrorism Police in the North East, who have both assured me that the police are aware of these letters and that there is a serious and ongoing national investigation led by Counter-Terrorism Police and supported by local police.
"I urge people to remain vigilant and if anyone receives or has received this letter, please contact the police and follow police guidelines to not pass the letter on to anyone else to prevent any contamination of evidence."
A police spokesperson said: "Counter Terrorism Policing North East are co-ordinating the investigation at this time and will consider any potential links to existing inquiries.
"Anyone with any concerns about a communication they may have received should contact their local police force."
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.