Sugar tax: anti-obesity measure takes effect

The price of some soft drinks will rise today as the Government’s long-awaited sugar tax is implemented.

The new measure, designed to tackle the obesity crisis, will apply a levy of 18p a litre to drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml and 24p for those containing more than 8g per 100ml.

This means the cost of a 330ml can of original Coca-Cola, containing around seven teaspoons of sugar, is likely to rise by around 8p plus VAT, according to ITV News.

Campaigners say the move will lead to consumers making healthier choices and help ease the burden on the NHS. It is also expected to raise more than £275m per year for the Treasury.

Several soft drinks companies have already reduced the sugar content of their products to avoid the tax, often opting for artificial sweeteners instead.

Tesco “has been one of the most successful,” bringing 85% of its own-brand soft drinks below the 5g level, according to The Guardian.

“Britvic claims to have done even better, with 94% of its drinks, including Robinson’s Refresh’d, Purdey’s and Tango, now low enough in sugar to be exempt,” the paper adds.

But this hasn’t gone down well with some consumers, with reports of shoppers stockpiling Irn Bru ahead of the recipe change.

“I would far rather pay more for a bottle than have an altered recipe version,” Ryan Allan, who launched a petition to stop the change, told the BBC. “I believe that a responsible adult should have the choice as to what poisons they want to put in their body.”

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