On the 6 April 2018 the Soft Drinks Industry Levy came into effect, a key milestone for the government’s bid to tackle childhood obesity.
The tax on soft drinks, commonly referred to as the ‘Sugar Tax’, has already resulted in over 50% of manufacturers reducing the sugar content of drinks since it was announced in March 2016 – the equivalent of 45 million kg of sugar every year.
Soft drinks manufacturers who don’t reformulate will pay the levy of 24p per litre of drink if it contains 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres or 18p per litre if it contains 5-8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitre. The levy is expected to raise £240 million each year and will go towards doubling the Primary Sports Premium, the creation of a Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to help schools upgrade their sports facilities, and give children access to top quality PE equipment. The levy will also give a funding boost for healthy school breakfast clubs.
Public Health Minister, Steve Brine MP remarked:
“Our teenagers consume nearly a bathtub of sugary drinks each year on average, fuelling a worrying obesity trend in this country. The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is ground-breaking policy that will help to reduce sugar intake, whilst funding sports programmes and nutritious breakfast clubs for children.
The progress made so far on our obesity plan is promising—but with one in three children still leaving primary school overweight or obese, we have not ruled out doing more in future.”