The UK Government has confirmed that a sugar tax on soft drinks will be introduced from April 2018.

In the draft legislation there are two thresholds – an 18p per litre tax on soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, and a 24p per litre levy on drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.

If the full cost is passed on to the consumer, the price of a regular can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi will rise by 8p, while 6p will be added to Sprite or Fanta.

Pure fruit juices, milkshakes and yoghurt drinks will be exempt from the tax.

The UK is the fifth country to introduce a sugar tax, following the lead of Mexico, Belgium, France and Hungary.

The Government said it expects the levy to raise £520m in the first year from the tax.

In August, Retail Express found that small retailers would be hardest hit by a sugar tax as they would lose 2% of their soft drink sales.

Paul Baxter, NFRN chief executive, said: “Piling on more ill-thought-out policies that will only make things more difficult for retailers while doing nothing to address the serious problem of obesity does not make sense.”

The soft drinks industry has been fighting against the tax with an awareness campaign, Face the facts, can the tax.

“There is no evidence worldwide that taxes of this sort reduce obesity, and it is ironic that soft drinks are being singled out for tax when we’ve led the way in reducing sugar intake, down over 17% since 2012,” said Gavin Partington of the British Soft Drinks Association.