A senior councillor has criticised Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson’s plans to review the sugar tax and other levies on unhealthy foods.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, responsible for public health, leisure and culture at Brent Council, said the suggestion would be a backwards step.

He explained that the tax has already reaped benefits in his borough, funding several projects that target obesity and promote healthier living.

Mr Johnson, who is vying with foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to become the next prime minister, has questioned the effectiveness of such taxes.

He has called for a review into the sugar tax – which came into effect in April 2018 – and has vowed not to implement ones on other unhealthy foods until this is complete.

The Uxbridge MP also believes so-called ‘sin taxes’ are disproportionately paid by lower-income families and that there are “other ways” to tackle obesity.

But Cllr Hirani wants to see the sugar tax maintained and has urged future leaders to introduce further charges to help curb health issues.

He said: “We are disappointed to see that the repeal of the sugar tax is being considered.

“The tax sends a clear message about unhealthy products and helps to nudge people in the direction of less harmful products.

“If anything, I would like to see the levy extended even further so that it targets more unhealthy food products.

“There are already signs that it is having an impact on the industry as companies are starting to reduce the amount of sugar in their products and are introducing new ranges of less harmful drinks.

“In addition, the income generated from the taxes are being put back into community projects to help improve the health outcomes for children.”