Sugar tax on soft drinks unveiled in Budget

A sugar tax on soft drinks has been announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his 2016 Budget, in an attempt to fight the growing rate of childhood obesity.
The levy will be placed on the producers of soft drinks, rather than the consumers. It is then expected that the companies will pass this levy onto consumers, charging more money for their drinks. The theory here is that fewer people will then purchase sugary drinks, which will help fight obesity.
Milk-based drinks and pure fruit juices will not be affected by the sugar tax, but drinks such as Red Bull, Coke and Irn Bru are expected to be included in the tax.
There will be two bands that the drinks are classed into, based on their sugar content, which will affect how much a company is charged. One band is for drinks with a total sugar content of more than 5g per 100ml, with the other band being for drinks with a total sugar content of more than 8g per 100ml. Drinks in this second band will face a higher charge.
The sugar tax will be introduced in 2018, so that companies have time to make changes to their drinks’ contents and promote low-sugar products. It is predicted to raise approximately £520m a year, and this money will be used to fund sport in primary schools, promoting a healthy lifestyle to children.
“You cannot have a long-term plan for the country unless you have a long-term plan for our children’s health care,” Mr Osborne said.
“I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation ‘I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with sugary drinks. We knew it caused disease. But we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing’.”
Explaining his reasons for the introduction of a sugar tax, Mr Osborne highlighted that statistics have indicated 70 per cent of girls and 50 per cent of boys could be classed as overweight or obese in the next generation – a worryingly high number.
The announcement has been praised by a number of prominent figures, such as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and the organisation Action on Sugar, who have called for a sugar tax to help address problems with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The sugar tax has been criticised by those in the drinks industry, however, with the director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, Gavin Partington, saying: “We are extremely disappointed by the government’s decision to hit the only category in the food and drink sector which has consistently reduced sugar intake in recent years – down 13.6 per cent since 2012.”
“By contrast, sugar and calorie intake from all other major take home food categories is increasing – which makes the targeting of soft drinks simply absurd,” he continued.
The NHS spends a staggering total of £27bn to treat obesity-related illnesses, and therefore the introduction of a sugar tax could save the organisation a substantial amount of money.
For a healthy lifestyle, you should take part in regular exercise and adopt a healthy diet that you can easily stick to in the long-term. Include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and limit your intake of sugar, salt, and other unhealthy processed food.

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