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Action on Sugar

Queen's speech reaffirms Government's commitment to sugary drinks levy


Today the government's plan to introduce a levy on soft drinks is reaffirmed in the Queen's Speech. The levy was announced by the Chancellor as part of the budget earlier this year and is due to be implemented in 2018. click here: Sugar levy on soft drinks announced

Professor Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, Chair of Action on Sugar, says: “The focus on sugar sweetened drinks is based on evidence which shows their association with obesity, type 2 diabetes and dental caries. These drinks contribute the largest proportion of sugar to the diets of children and teenagers, yet they have no nutritional value. There are many examples of soft drinks lower in sugar, which will avoid the tax. The levy will encourage the manufacturers with drinks that contain an amount of sugar above the threshold to reformulate, which is absolutely essential given that just a 330ml can of many of these drinks exceeds the daily maximum recommendation for free sugars intake for adults, let alone children.

In Mexico, a 10% price increase led to a 12 per cent drop in consumption overall, and 17 per cent drop in consumption among lower income households and in Hungary, a tax on sugary products led 40 per cent of manufacturers to reduce sugar to avoid the tax. What’s more, the hypothecated tax revenue will be spent on increasing physical activity and improving children’s nutrition through school breakfast clubs.

The sugary drinks levy has been a long time coming. There is no question that the government must take control and implement all measures which will help to reduce excess sugar consumption.”

Jenny Rosborough, Registered Nutritionist and Campaign Manager at Action on Sugar, says: "It is clear that the government must take action to reduce the consumption of soft drinks, particularly in children and adolescents, if we want to reduce the high levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. Of course, a sugar levy on soft drinks is just one approach amongst a range of actions that need to be included in the government's obesity strategy. But it certainly makes sense to start by targeting the largest contributor of sugar in our diets. The sugar levy announcement shows that the government are getting serious about our health. This is just the start."



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