Sweet success in bid to cut sugary drinks


July 26, 2016
in Sugary Drinks

Major manufacturers are reducing the amount of sugar in soft drinks ahead of the government’s sugar tax, although sticky problems remain.

The reaction to George Osborne’s surprise announcement of a sugar tax in the March Budget was immediate. While celebrity chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver took to Twitter to celebrate the government’s “bold, brave” move, it was a bitter blow for the soft drinks industry, with shares in AG Barr, the maker of Irn-Bru, dropping by 4.5 per cent and Britvic by 2.4 per cent within minutes.

The two-tier levy is due to come into force in April 2018, when drinks containing more than 8g of sugar per 100ml, currently including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Irn-Bru and Lucozade Energy, will be subject to a tax of 24p a litre. A lower band for drinks containing over 5g of sugar per 100ml, including Dr Pepper, Fanta and Sprite, will be taxed at 18p per litre. The government hopes to raise £520 million through the levy in its first year, which will be invested in improving sports in schools.

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