In light of the emerging national debate on a sugar tax, BMG has polled more than 1,500 UK adults to understand where public opinion falls on introducing a tax on sugary food and drinks, in order to cut obesity and reduce pressure on the NHS.

Public Health England (PHE), the Government’s advisory group, called for a sugar tax of up to 20% on fizzy drinks and fattening snacks in order to tackle illness and obesity, and reduce pressure on the NHS in their report on sugar reduction in October last year.

We asked respondents whether they would support or oppose a sugar tax and the results found approaching half (47%) would support this; compared to just 33% who would oppose. 19% said they would neither support nor oppose the introduction of a tax (excluding don’t knows). A closer look at the data reveals that support is relatively consistent across many different sub-groups, highlighting the broad and cross-cutting nature of support for the proposed levy.

Those who say that they trust government are more likely to support its introduction, with 57% in favour (24% against, 18% DK), compared to just 43% of those who say they don’t (43% against, 14% DK).

This week, the NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, has told the press that the NHS will be imposing their own ‘sugar tax’ across NHS hospitals in England to help cut obesity. The tax is designed to discourage staff, patients and visitors from buying sugary drinks and items from hospital vending machines and cafes in order to help reduce obesity and set an example to the general public. The money raised from the tax will be used to help improve the health of the NHS’s workforce.

Tables for these results can be found here.

For a more detailed breakdown of the results from this poll, and any other results from our polling series, please visit our website or get in touch by email or phone.


Lauren Harris – Research Executive



0121 333 6006

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