PLANS to impose a “fizzy drinks tax” aimed at reducing people's daily sugar intake is not the right approach.

That's the view of Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes.

Mrs Nokes who is chairman of a parliamentary committee dealing with health and nutrition related issues said: “There is no doubt we must reduce the amount of sugar in our diet, and fizzy drinks are certainly responsible for about two per cent of the UK's calorie consumption.

“But public health policy in this area cannot rely solely on 'spot-taxing' certain things the Government wishes to discourage.

"We need a more sophisticated approach - the population needs to be educated, given the facts about the consequences of poor diet and hopefully choose to reduce the net amount of sugar it consumes”.

The Tory MP added: “Furthermore, food manufacturers must be encouraged to reduce the amount of sugar they add to processed food to assist in reducing the amount of sugar the nation consumes. This is about changing palate and habit”.

Mrs Nokes said it's tempting to consider imposing “a complete ban on sugar in soft drinks” or to introduce “punitive taxes” but she doesn't believe this is the answer.

“Although it may raise revenue, I have my doubts whether taxes at the rate proposed would actually reduce consumption. And it would undoubtedly be the poorest sections of society who would pay the greater proportion of the increased tax.

“Healthy eating is an essential part of a healthy life, ensuring we remain nutritionally balanced and at a healthy weight.

"But we need a two-pronged approach: we must start by taking responsibility for what we and our children eat, whilst putting pressure on food manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar and salt in processed foods.”