The Chancellor George Osborne has announced in the Budget Statement that the government will introduce a levy on sugar-sweetened drinks in April 2018 (subject to consultation). The levy will apply to drinks with more than 5g total sugar/100ml, with a higher rate for drinks with more than 8g total sugar/100ml. The levy will not apply to milk-based drinks or pure fruit juices.
Will this help stem the rise in obesity? I doubt it. The cost of a packet of cigarettes is obscene yet people still smoke and I believe people will still buy sugar laden drinks. At best, I think manufacturers will add a range of lower sugar drinks.
Taking them off sale in schools, along with all the other unhealthy offerings (sausage rolls, chips, pizza, crisps) would be far more beneficial, although schools would then have to offer healthy alternatives and as Jamie Oliver has discovered, the backlash from parents is something to behold!
Some say this is a tax on the poor. Please, enlighten me here as a bottle of water is cheaper than a can of Cola or Red Bull.
Drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml will be taxed at a lower rate of 6p per drink. These include:
Schweppes Indian Tonic Water: 5.1g
Dr Pepper: 7.2g
Um Bongo: 7.5g
Drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml will be taxed at a higher rate of 8p per drink. These include:
Lucozade original: 8.7g
Dr Pepper: 10.3g
Irn Bru: 10.3g
7 Up: 10.6g
Red Bull: 11g
Rockstar energy drink: 12.7g
Old Jamaican ginger beer: 15.2g
On the subject of sugar, there’s a list of its many guises here