United Kingdom sugar tax comes into effect today

The rationale for the sugar tax, first devised by George Osborne when chancellor in 2016, is simple.

So with the debate very much a live issuein Ireland here are the answers to some key questions about the levy and what it means for manufacturers and consumers.

Labor's position is similar, while the Greens have endorsed a 20 percent increase on sugar-sweetened drinks as part of a broader obesity prevention strategy.

The price of sugary soft drinks is set to increase from 6 April as the government's soft drinks levy comes into effect.

But drinks which have between 5g and 8g of sugar per 100ml are to be taxed with a rate equivalent to 18p per litre.

The drinks containing 5 gms of sugar per 100ml will have lower tax ie. of 18 pence ($0.25, 0.21 euros) per litre and those with more than 8 gms of sugar per 100ml will have 24 pence per litre.

It's the government's response to childhood obesity, and proceeds from the tax will be used to fund healthy school breakfast clubs as well as school sports.

In January, the Australian Medical Association urged the government to introduce a tax "as a matter of priority" to cut down on consumption levels.

Unhappy about the sugar tax?

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Ben Reynolds, Deputy CEO of Sustain, has called the tax a good start but added there is much left to do.

These costs will also rise in pubs and restaurants.

So far Lucazade, Irn Bru, Fanta, and Ribena are amongst the drinks that have cut their sugar content by almost a half, though some big names like Coca-Cola have yet to change their recipes.

If revenue from the levy drops, the British Government said funding for schools and children will stay the same.

Drink manufacturers will have to pay the extra tax if their products contain a lot of sugar, so many have already responded by changing their recipes, says Chronicle Live.

In Ireland it has been estimated that the tax could bring in €30m in 2018 and €40m over the course of a full year.

In Hungary the "sweet" tax resulted in a reduction of sugar in beverages is 40%.

The price of high-sugar soft drinks in the United Kingdom is set to rise by up to 25% under the newly introduced "sugar tax", in a bid to prevent obesity and related diseases, such as diabetes and certain cancers. The tax is expected to act on several fronts.

  • Rita Burton