Great news! George Osborne is introducing a sugar tax on soft drink manufacturers to start in 2018. This is a great result for all of us who are worried about the effects sugar is having on everyone’s health and wellbeing. Jamie Oliver has been one of the leading stars campaigning to get manufacturers to cut the amount of sugar children consume every day and he looked thrilled when I saw him.
I’m always writing about the dangers of sugar. Just before Christmas I was at an event hosted by Action On Sugar and had a long chat with Dr Aseem Malhotra, their science director and leading campaigner (we’re pictured below).
So what does today’s announcement mean?
Manufacturers will be taxed according to the quantity of the sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import. There will be two categories of taxation: one for total sugar content above 5g per 100ml and a second higher band for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.
Pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks will not be included.
Sugar tax great for kids
The estimated £520million raised by the sugar tax will be put towards boosting primary school sports.
The levy will be introduced in two years’ time to give companies time to adapt products to reduce their sugar content.
Chancellor Osborne said in the Budget that at present five-year-old children are consuming their body weight in sugar every year and experts predict that within a generation more than half of all boys and 70 per cent of girls could be overweight or obese.
Mr Osborne said: “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’.”
Chef Jamie said the Chancellor’s announcement on sugar tax was “amazing news.”
He posted on Instagram: “We did it guys!! We did it!!! A sugar levy on sugary sweetened drinks … A profound move that will ripple around the world. business cannot come between our kids health !! Our kids’ health comes first … Bold, brave, logical and supported by all the right people … now bring on the whole strategy soon to come … Amazing.”