‘Sugar Tax’ comes into force to tackle childhood obesity

From Friday (6 April 2018) the Soft Drinks Industry Levy ( Sugar Tax ) comes into effect.

The tax on soft drinks, commonly referred to as the ‘Sugar Tax’, has already resulted in over 50% of manufacturers reducing the sugar content of drinks since it was announced in March 2016 – the equivalent of 45 million kg of sugar every year.

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Soft drinks manufacturers who don’t reformulate will pay the levy, which is expected to raise £240 million each year. This money will go towards doubling the Primary Sports Premium, the creation of a Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to help schools upgrade their sports facilities, and give children access to top quality PE equipment.

The levy will also give a funding boost for healthy school breakfast clubs.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick MP visited the Lucozade Ribena Suntory factory today (5 April 2018), which has led the way in reformulating its drinks alongside the likes of Tesco and Irn Bru.

He commented:

‘The Soft Drinks Levy is one part of our plan to tackle childhood obesity. From Friday, soft drinks which contain too much added sugar will need to pay a fee.

‘All revenues raised through the levy will directly fund new sports facilities in schools as well as healthy breakfast clubs, ensuring children lead healthier lives.

‘We want to persuade manufacturers to reformulate their drinks and lower the sugar content. In the time between announcing this policy and it taking effect today, more than half of all soft drinks have been reformulated to lower the sugar content, including many of the best known soft drinks. We hope that will continue in the months and years to come.’

In England alone, a third of children are obese or overweight when they leave primary school, and evidence shows that 80% of kids who are obese in their early teens will go on to be obese adults.