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UK plans to impose sugar tax on soft drinks firms to fight child obesity

DBR Staff Writer Published 22 August 2016

The UK Government has unveiled plans to impose a sugar tax on soft drinks firms and invest the funds raised in fighting child obesity.

The money raised from the tax proceedings will be invested in health and sports projects for school children. The soda tax is part of the government’s effort to reduce the rising cases of childhood obesity in the UK.

The plan is that food and drink manufacturers will reduce the sugar contents in their food products which are mostly consumed by children.

The government says that soft drinks are the only highest source of sugar for children. An average soda can has about 9 teaspoons of sugar. A child having a soft drink will have had sugar much more that the daily recommendation.

The sugar tax will come in two bands. One is for total sugar content of 5g per 100ml and a higher band for 8g of sugar content per 100ml.

Drinks that can presently fall under the high sugar level category include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Lucozade Energy and Im-Bru and brands with lower sugar level include Dr. Pepper, Fanta, Sprite, Schweppes Indian tonic water and alcohol-free shandy.

The lobby of soft drink manufacturers however believe that the soda tax on soft drinks with added sugar can only have little impact, but it could result in thousands of job cuts across the UK.

Some claim that by imposing tax on sugary foods, the government is making food more expensive for low income families.

UK Junior Finance Minister Jane Ellison said that obesity costs Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) billions of pounds every year.

With the soda tax, the UK will follow suit with countries such as France, Belgium, Hungary, Mexico and Scandinavian countries that have been levying similar taxes for several years now.