The government are making an attempt to ‘tackle childhood obesity’ by taxing soft drinks for their sugar levels. They’re calling this the Soft Drinks Industry Levy which came into effect on the 6th of April 2018. The sugar tax has apparently already resulted in over 50% of soft drinks manufacturers reducing the sugar content of their products. The sugar tax was announced in March 2018 and since then the soft drinks industry has been trying to lower it’s sugar levels whilst keeping the same well-known tastes.
Soft drinks manufacturers who choose not to lower their products sugar levels will be forced to pay the levy. The government has stated that this should accumulate £240 million each year that will supposedly go towards primary school sports, healthy eating schemes, sports facilities for children and schools for PE as well as healthy school breakfast clubs.
When the levy was announced two years ago it was expected to bring in £520m but this changed to £240m in 2018 due to companies and manufacturers adhering to the new rules to avoid the charges. Companies would be made to pay 24p per litre of drink that contains 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres or 18p per litre of drink if it contains between 5-8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.
Many soft drink lovers were worried when they first heard about the new sugar tax and the worry may have been necessary as some soft drink companies are choosing to raise prices and shrink bottles instead of reformulating their most popular drinks. This means that if your favourite drink happens to be original Coke or Pepsi you’re out of luck. You’re going to either have to pay more for less or swap to a less sugary alternative that companies have to offer.
If you are unhappy about the new changes to soft drinks or the Sugar Tax you can speak to somebody from the food standards agency and they can refer you to somebody from GOV who will be able to discuss this issue with you. You can call the food standards agency on 0844 248 1659.