Philip Hammond’s recent Budget speech may not have pleased everyone, but if there’s one thing I am quite happy with then it is the fact that the planned Sugar Tax — the brainchild of the previous government — is going full steam ahead.
Go light on the sugar
When David Cameron resigned hours after the Brexit referendum results were announced, I honestly thought that hard fought for health initiatives like the Childhood Obesity Strategy and the Sugar Tax would never see the light of day under the new government led by Theresa May.
While it’s true that David Cameron’s Childhood Obesity Strategy has been reduced to a mere shadow of what it was supposed to be, the fact that the Sugar Tax is still in place provides some comfort that the battle against obesity is not all but forgotten.
In his recent Budget speech, Philip Hammond announced details of the new Sugar Tax, saying that sugar-laden fizzy drinks will see a tax hike by April 2018. Tax on drinks with more than five grams of sugar per 100ml will be levied by 18p per litre, while those with eight grams or more of sugar per 100ml will have an extra tax of 24p per litre.
Responding to the Budget announcement, British Soft Drinks Association director general Gavin Partington said: “Given current increases in the cost of goods, we’re surprised the Treasury wishes to put more pressure on businesses and raise prices for hard-pressed consumers.”
Tut-tut… one can only laugh at how the potential impact of Brexit is woven into every possible excuse and argument.
The money raised through the Sugar Tax will go to the Department for Education (DfE) for school sports, which is expected to raise an extra £1bn from the Sugar Tax… And this is the only flaw I see in the Sugar Tax: The money raised would probably be better spent in educating children on how to eat healthier and more balanced meals, instead of further investment in sport.
Yes, physical activity is absolutely essential for living a healthy and balanced life. But so is eating a healthy diet. In my view, there’s no point chasing children around a football pitch, getting them to burn fat and shed extra pounds, if they’re not taught how to avoid piling on the pounds in the first place.
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New sugar tax confirmed by Philip Hammond in fight to combat rising obesity, published online 08.03.17, independent.co.uk