Professor Sheila Hollins, BMA board of science chair, said:

“Doctors are increasingly concerned about the impact of poor diet, which is responsible for up to 70,000 deaths a year, and has the greatest impact on the NHS budget, costing £6bn annually.

“We urge the Government to give real and urgent consideration to Public Health England’s recommendations including restricting the marketing of high-sugar products, reducing promotions of sugary food and drink, and introducing a 10-20 per cent sugar tax.

“While sugar-sweetened drinks are very high in calories they are of limited nutritional value and when people in the UK are already consuming far too much sugar, we are increasingly concerned about how they contribute towards conditions like diabetes.

“It is concerning that a decision was made to delay publication at the same time as the BMA published its own report into the impact of sugar on children and young people, which included calls for a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks alongside action to restrict the pervasive marketing strategies used by the food and drink industry. It is vital that the government takes on board the concerns already raised by doctors, and now echoed by Public Health England.”