What Is The Sugar Tax?

What is the sugar tax, how much will the price of fizzy drinks increase by and how much sugar do they contain?

The sugar tax was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his budget statement. He said the money raised as part of the levy would go to the Department for Education.

What is the Sugar Tax?

Former Chancellor George Osborne sensationally announced the tax in what proved to be his final budget in March last year.

He told the House of Commons: “Doing the right thing for the next generation is what this government and this Budget is about.

“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.”

The former Chancellor went on to say the new levy would be put on drinks companies and they would be taxed according to how much sugar was in their beverages.

Two categories of taxation are set to come into force.

One on the total sugar content on drinks with more than 5g per 100ml and a higher levy for drinks with 8g per 100ml or more.

The tax is estimated to raise around £520 million which will be used to fund sports in primary schools.

Hopes of a U-turn by new PM Theresa May were dashed and the plans to slap extra cash on fizzy drinks look set to come into force.

Which drinks will be hit by the tax?

The new tax could whack up the cost of a 2 litre bottle of Coca-Cola (10.6g per 100ml) by as much as 48p if the plans go ahead as announced and the drinks giant doesn’t alter its recipe.

A standard can of regular Coke, currently costing around 70p, would be slapped with a 8p increase while the same amount of Sprite (6.6g per 100ml) would go up by 6p.

Scots favourite Irn Bru (10.5g per 100ml) would face a similar increase to Coke along with Red Bull (11g per 100ml), Dr Pepper (10.3g per 100ml), Lucozade (8.7g per 100ml) and Old Jamaica Ginger Beer (15.2g per 100ml).

Pure fruit juice has been exempted from the tax but fans of a refreshing G&T could feel pinch as Fever-Tree Indian tonic water falls into the highest band with 8g per 100ml.

Will the sugar tax work?

Health campaigner and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver welcomed the move, speaking outside parliament moments after it was announced.

Other countries have introduced similar measures and have seen some success in reducing the drinking of fizzy drinks.

Mexico introduced a 10 per cent tax on sugary drinks in 2014 and saw a 12 per cent reduction over the first year.

Hungary brought in a tax on the drinks companies and saw a 40 per cent decrease in the amount of sugar in the products.

Brits will be joining some of our European neighbours with the move with similar measures in place on drinks in France and Finland and the Norwegians chocolate tax.

But the tax has been met with furious resistance from some quarters with opponents saying it will hit the poor hardest and actually misses out some of the most sugary drinks.