Do You Think There Should Be A Sugar Tax On Soft Drinks?

Over 60 leading medical organisations are asking the government to put its wellness money where its mouth is, and include a 20p-per-litre levy on soft drinks in this year’s Budget. The recommendation has been made by the food and farming charity Sustain, but has the backing of a number of medical bodies, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who say that the wellbeing of children could greatly improve due to this tax, as it would raise £1bn a year in duty to fund free fruit and meals in schools.


However, it might be an obvious point to make, but the soft drinks industry says raising taxation is unnecessary. According to the British Soft Drink Association (BSDA), many companies are already playing a role in the fight against obesity, and the BSDA’s director general Gavin Partington boasted that 61% of soft drinks ‘now contain no added sugar and we have seen soft drinks companies lead the way in committing to further, voluntary action as part of the government’s Responsibility Deal calorie-reduction pledge.’    Currently, 10p from every 60p can of drink already goes to the government in tax, Partington said. ‘Putting up taxes even further will put pressure on people’s purses at a time when they can ill afford it.’


Mike Rayner, of the department of public health at Oxford University and chairman of Sustain, ‘Just as we use fiscal measures to discourage drinking and smoking and help prevent people from dying early, there is now lots of evidence that the same approach would work for food. This modest proposal goes some way towards making the price of food reflect its true costs to society. Our obesity epidemic causes debilitating illness, life threatening diseases and misery for millions of people. It is high time government did something effective about this problem.’


Though sugary drinks will only cause you to gain weight if you consume more calories than you use for energy, they are still potentially hazardous to your wellness because they aren’t filling, which means you can easily overdo it on the fizz. You can typically find 35g (0.17oz) or nine lumps of sugar in a 330-millilitre (half-pint) sugary drink, and according to The British Dietetic Association research suggests that sugary drinks may be contributing to obesity in children. So even if the government does not take the proposal on board, you can still cut down your consumption of soft drinks by switching to drinking pure juice diluted with fizzy water, milk, no-added-sugar squash or water.

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