A sugar tax coalition including newsagents, wholesalers and soft drinks manufacturers have joined forced to fight the government’s impending sugar tax – forecast to cost the economy millions of pounds.
The group – which includes the NFRN and the Federation of Wholesale Distributors – aims to highlight the economic consequences of the tax and urge the government to rethink the policy, focusing instead on ‘proven solutions that will address obesity’.
Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, which is providing funding for the campaign, said: “We’re hoping the government will see sense and reverse this policy. It is vital we make ministers and officials aware of the risks this policy poses.”
Both the NFRN and group members have confirmed they are planning on contacting MPs and relevant policy makers during this time of consultation before the tax comes into effect in 2018.
A report published by Oxford Economics commissioned by the group predicts that the tax would reduce consumption by just five calories per person per day, while resulting in a loss of more than 4,000 UK jobs and a decline of £132m in economic output.
Meanwhile, the report shows between 2004 and 2014, sales of ‘full sugar’ soft drinks fell 44%, while obesity increased by around 4%.
Mr Partington said: “Reports from the likes of the Public Health of England and Mckinsey point to more effective measures of reducing obesity, including reformulation, smaller pack sizes and promotion of low calorie products.”
Defending the tax, a Home Treasury spokesman said the levy is about getting producers to reduce the levels of added sugar in products children consume.
Julian Taylor-Green said: “The tax is more of a knee jerk reaction than effective means to an end. As one of my most profitable categories, I fear this tax will just end up damaging business rather than reducing obesity.”
You can read about this week’s sugar tax announcement from the government here.