Economy

New 'nanny state' sugar tax is 'counterproductive,' critics say

New 'nanny state' sugar tax is 'counterproductive,' critics say

Coca-Cola is among the soft drinks makers not to change its recipes in light of the introduction of the United Kingdom government's sugar tax. Some big brands have already taken steps to reduce the amount of sugar in their products ahead of it taking effect (hitting the worst culprits in their wallets appears to be a somewhat effective approach). The revenue generated will be put into the Primary Sports Premium, the creation of a Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to help schools upgrade their sports facilities, and give children access to top quality PE equipment. Drinks with higher levels of sugar in them will be taxed at higher amounts.

Mintel research revealed just under half (47%) of consumers said that a tax making unhealthy food and drink more expensive would encourage them to cut down on these items.

Meanwhile, 51pc confessed they aren't aware of how much sugar they should be consuming each day.

Manufacturers of soft drinks containing more than 5g of sugar per 100ml will pay a levy of 18p a litre to the Treasury, or 24p a litre if the sugar content is over 8g per 100ml, with the cost passed on to retailers and customers.

The price rise won't be applied to pure fruit juice or drinks that contain at least 75 per cent milk, so many ready-prepared milkshakes and coffee drink will be exempt from the tax. Most used items such as individual mixer bottles will be increasing by around 10% on average, and high-volume post mix products for full sugar soft drinks could see increases of up to 20% on average.

Pepsi reuters pic
Image There are 36g of sugar in one can

Soft drinks industry will be the most affected with this move in health legislation. This could also increase their prices in pubs and restaurants too.

But this hasn't gone down well with some consumers, with reports of shoppers stockpiling Irn Bru ahead of the recipe change.

Health campaigners hope the tax will mark the start of a more ambitious government obesity policy, including tighter measures to regulate the advertising of junk food.

More than 60,000 children had teeth extracted in hospital a year ago - the equivalent to 141 operations a day. However, a FactCheck conducted by TheJournal.ie found that, while consumption might be reduced, the net effect on obesity rates was negligible.

According to the Lancet study, evidence shows that high-income families generally consume more, and spend more, on alcohol, soft drinks and snacks, compared to those on less money.


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