Sugar tax to go ahead despite lobbying efforts of soft drinks industry to halt it

Camille Bienvenu
Wed, 07 Dec 2016
Sugar tax to go ahead despite lobbying efforts of soft drinks industry to halt it
The well-overdue levy on soft drinks promised by the UK government is starting to materialise after ministers published a draft legislation that paves the way for it.

The government holds its ground on plans to bring a soft-drink tax to the UK next April 2018 in an attempt to combat the rising tide of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The fight for soft drink taxes had intensified ahead of the release of the legislation in the UK, with industry mightily trying to water it down ever since it's been announced in March.

But, the public momentum around the tax is such now that it will be hard for industry to stop it before it comes into effect next year.

According to the government's plan, the tax will be applied to both producers and importers of sugary drinks, with the notable exception of pure fruit juices, sugary milkshakes and yoghurt drinks.

As for alcoholic drinks, those with up to 1.2 per cent of alcohol and carrying a lot of sugar will be included in the levy.

Two bands of tax have been proposed by the government, depending on whether drinks come with 5g or more than 8g of added sugar per 100ml. Rates have yet to be set.

It is estimated by the Office for Budget Responsibility that the levy could add 18p to 24p to the price of a litre of fizzy drink for customers, which could raise a revenue source of up to £520 million in a year.

The drinks industry has repeatedly tried to oppose the charge, with British Soft Drinks Association director-general, Gavin Partington, claiming that there is no evidence that sugar taxes have any impact on levels of obesity.

This is not what Cancer Research UK's projections of the knock-on-effect of the tax show. The 20 per cent sugar tax could help curb consumption and prevent 3.7 million cases of obesity over the next decade.
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