It's been more than a year since Public Health England released a report highlighting the detrimental effect of sugar on the nation's health (you know the drill—obesity, cancer, diabetes). Then in March this year, the British Government announced plans to implement a sugar levy on soft drinks as a way of tackling obesity and related diseases. The extra tax on added sugar drinks was confirmed in the Government's childhood obesity strategy in August.
Since the summer, experts have tried to predict exactly how much more a can of pop could cost post-sugar tax, but nothing has been confirmed by the Government. Until now.
On Monday, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) released a policy paper with details on the sugar levy, which is due to come into effect in April 2018. The report states that there will be two tax rate bands: one for added sugar drinks with 5 grams of sugar or more per 100 millilitres and a higher levy on drinks with 8 grams of sugar or more.
While the exact tax rates for each threshold will be announced in the Chancellor's annual Finance Bill next year, experts have used figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility, which produces forecasts for the UK's economy, to predict the amounts. They believe that a can of Coke could be set to rise by 8p, while a two-litre bottle of the sugary stuff could go up by 48p.
But it isn't just down to consumers to stump up the extra cash.
The HMRC paper also said: "The levy will apply to the producers and importers of these types of drinks." In other words, it's up to producers whether these costs are passed onto consumers.
Speaking to MUNCHIES, Jenny Rosborough from health campaign group Action on Sugar said that she hoped the decision to tax drinks manufacturers directly would encourage them to reformulate their products.
She said: "Although the actual rates won't be confirmed until next year, we're pleased the levy will be passed on to manufacturers. We hope it will pressurise them into reducing the sugar content in their products to avoid the tax."
The never-ending battle on sugar continues.