Soft drinks giants in Ireland are poised to follow the lead of tobacco manufacturers and launch a legal challenge against the introduction of a sugar tax.

The Irish Beverage Council, which represents Coca-Cola and Pepsi, said capacity to collect the new 10-cent sugar tax would be “stretched” as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the EU and warned that it could lead to the rise of illegal trade.

It follows The Times receiving a leaked copy of the UK Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy last month, which revealed that, following the Brexit vote, a sugar levy is unlikely to become law anytime soon.

Recently published documents from an Irish Government figure suggested the new tax would be included in the October budget, prompting the IBC’s call for the Government “to consider the consumer health risks in the case of the development of unregulated counterfeit products”.

Meanwhile, national and international industry experts recently warned that plain packaging on soft drinks is “on the cards” in the UK.