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Oct 8, 2019 / Richard Hall

UK soft drinks tax update

Three conclusions can be drawn from the latest news on the UK soft drinks sugar levy introduced in April 2018.

• It is raising a lot of money for government spending.

• It has helped reduce the sugar content of soft drinks.

• It has contributed to no discernible reduction in obesity.

Over the four tax years 2020/21 to 2023/2024, the UK Government expects to collect another £1,370 million. None of this, however, is guaranteed to help school sports or other obesity measures.

According to Public Health England, sugar levels in UK soft drinks have fallen by 29% in ‘private label and manufacturer-branded soft drinks,’ but “without reducing soft drink sales.”

Research from Kantar Worldpanel finds that soft drinks now ‘make a 7.7% contribution to take-home sugar in the UK.’

The British Soft Drinks Association asserts that “no evidence has yet been presented indicating that the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has had an impact on obesity levels”.

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