There is no getting away from the fact that obesity is a huge and growing problem and one that the Government has to tackle, but neither the NFRN nor our members believe that slapping a sugar tax on soft drinks is the right way to go about it.
Indeed, in the last edition of Retail Express, the findings of a new report by think tank Oxford Economics were documented, which revealed that a levy would have the biggest impact on small shopkeepers, costing them £8,100 each a year in lost sales. That’s because more than a quarter of soft drinks sold by convenience stores would be subject to the tax.
For that very reason, the NFRN has helped found the ‘Face the facts, can the tax’ campaign, joining forces with like-minded trade organisations to highlight the damaging economic consequences of the tax and urging the Government to rethink.
The NFRN will be doing all we can to get Prime Minister Theresa May and MPs to face the facts, taking the research into account before coming to the right decision by consigning this proposed harmful and ineffective tax to history
As well as losing small retailers almost 2% of their soft drink sales, Oxford Economics found that it will wipe out 500 jobs in this sector and cost the economy £130m. The same report predicts that calorie consumption will drop by just five calories per person per day as a result of the tax – the equivalent of a bite of an apple.
So, yes, as I said at the start of this column, obesity is a serious problem that has to be addressed. But a levy on soft drinks does not make sense.
Instead, the campaign is seeking a solution that will really get to grips with a weighty issue that is affecting the health of millions of people across the country and having a hefty impact on the NHS, as well as supporting local shops. What we cannot have is one that will have such a large and detrimental impact on local independent businesses.
Over the next few weeks the NFRN and its 15,000 members will be doing all we can to get Prime Minister Theresa May and MPs to face the facts, taking the research into account before coming to the right decision by consigning this proposed harmful and ineffective tax to history.
NFRN members are small business owners who are already struggling to make ends meet in a very difficult economy. Piling yet another ill-thought-out policy on to them will only add to their woes while failing to achieve the desired result.