The sugar tax

On the 6th of April 2018, a sugar tax was introduced to the UK. This new levy was introduced by former chancellor, George Osbourne, in 2016, to try and combat child obesity in our sugar-controlled society.

“No matter how difficult and how controversial it is, you cannot have a long-term plan for the country unless you have a long-term plan for our children’s health care” Osborne said. Public Health Minister and Winchester MP, Steve Brine said “our teenagers consume nearly a bathtub of sugary drinks each year on average, fueling a worrying obesity trend.”

Teens in secondary schools should be consuming 7 cubes a day at a max, however many teens consume much more than this. In fact most teens have double the amount of sugar on a daily basis. This is a massive problem for the UK as 1 in 5 children leave primary school and start secondary school obese. Even more leave secondary school obese as sugary drinks are more accessible than ever before.

There are two bands of taxation:

  • For drinks with with 5-8g of added sugar per 100ml it will be 18p extra per litre
  • For drinks with 8g of added sugar or more per 100ml it will add 24p to the drink per litre.

Now, this might not seem like a lot however due to the increasing demand of sugary drinks, the producers will have to pay a higher tax, forcing them to increase the price for the consumers. This affects people all over the UK hopefully decreasing the demand for these monstrous drinks.

The government are hoping to use the tax for sport funding and breakfast clubs. The tax was thought to have raised £500 million every year, yet a new investigation reveals that the tax will actually only raise around half the original estimate as many manufacturers have decided to decrease the amount of sugar content to try and avoid the tax as much as possible.

So, overall, drinks with at least 5g of sugar per 100ml (fizzy drinks and energy drinks) will suffer the most from the tax as they are full of sugar. Due to being high in calcium, milk-based drinks (like milkshakes) have been excluded from the ‘sugar tax’, as have pure fruit juices – they may be high in sugar, but this is natural sugar which is good for health.

I think this is a tax which could help younger generations continue to stay fit and have a healthier lifestyle. With new tech introduced every year, the newer generations have a bigger battle with obesity and I think this is one of the best ways to help overcome this growing problem.

By Ashvini Kamalathasan

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