The Common’s Health Committee have revealed that MPs are to support plans to introduce a tax on sugary drinks in order to help combat childhood obesity. The committee said that there was compelling evidence that a tax on sugary drinks would reduce their consumption.
The health committee today issued MPs who have so far been resisting a tax increase, with a report detailing their plans to help tackle childhood obesity. A tax on full sugar soft drinks was on the agenda and included the case for a tax increase, the impact of the tax across different income groups and revenue raised by the tax increase.
However representatives speaking on behalf of the food industry have said the new tax would be unfair on consumers. Director General of the Food and Drink Federation said he was disappointed by the report issued by the Health Committee. “No-one seems to have considered hard-pressed consumers in all this. Consumers already pay billions in VAT on food and drink.” He added;”as a result of the arbitrary new tax recommended by the committee, which, if introduced, would inevitably be increased year-on-year and extended to other foods, would leave consumers paying significantly more, every week, for the products they love.”
MPs are set to evaluate the report and publish a childhood obesity strategy early next year, but many are still sceptical about a tax on sugary drinks. They feel that there needs to be multiple strategies put in place in order to find a solution to the obesity problem but many are now acknowledging that some form of action needs to take place and that the possibility of a tax needs to be seriously considered.
The Health Committee have used data in the report obtained from Mexico, which introduced a tax on sugary drinks which came into effect in January 2014. The tax has since helped to reduce soda consumption and has resulted in the fall of sales of juices and sweetened favoured waters. The Mexican government implemented the 10% tax on sugary drinks and has seen a 6% reduction in their consumption, no doubt having a beneficial impact on childhood obesity in the country.
The positive results of the tax increase in Mexico has meant that the government are under serious pressure to drop its current stance in opposition to the tax increase. MPs are expected to back the proposed 20% tax, and the appropriate measures are likely to be taken next year to implement the sugary drink tax in an effort to help combat rising childhood obesity levels.