UK introduces sugar tax to tackle obesity

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer,  George Osborne, has announced he will be introducing a sugar tax on makers of soft drinks in a bid to reduce childhood obesity.

He said it will be imposed on companies according to the volume of the sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import.

Pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks will be excluded, and the smallest producers will have an exemption from the scheme.

The Chancellor who spoke in his Budget on Wednesday said at present, five-year-old children are consuming their bodyweight in sugar every year and experts predict that within a generation more than half of all boys and 70% of girls could be overweight or obese.

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His words:

“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’.”

It will be introduced in two years and it will be levied on the volumes of sugary drinks sold or exported.

There will be two bands – on drinks with sugar above 5g per 100ml and drinks above 8g per 100ml.

Pure fruit juices and milk based drinks will be excluded. The government will consult on implementation.

“Of course some will choose to pass the cost onto consumers and that will be their decision”

A sugar tax on the soft drinks industry will raise an estimated £520 million a year and the cash raised will be spent on doubling funding for sport in primary schools.

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