UK's sugar tax has raised over £150m so far

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018

UK's sugar tax has raised over £150m so far

In the UK, 457 beverage companies have elected to pay the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) since it was introduced in April 2018. By the end of October the levy, which applies to the packaging and importation of soft drinks containing added sugar, had raised £153.8 million and 90% of the companies were paying the higher rate:

  • The ‘standard rate’ (18 p/L) applies to drinks with sugar content between 5 g and up to (but not including) 8 g/100 mL.
  • The ‘higher rate’ (24 p/L) applies to drinks with sugar content equal to or greater than 8 g/100 mL.

Politicians are lauding the positive impact the soft drinks levy is having as it is delivering millions of pounds for sports facilities and healthier eating in schools.

In total 660 million litres of soft drink have been taxed — 256 million litres in the first quarter and 395 million litres in the second quarter. With the second quarter covering the British summer (July–September) the increased volume in this quarter has been put down to seasonality, but it is acknowledged that some trader behaviour prior to the levy’s introduction may also have had an impact.

Public Health England is monitoring the sugar reduction program and claims that the legislation has resulted in an 11% reduction in the sugar content of soft drinks. However, its next progress report is not due until Spring 2019 so we have no indication of whether or not the levy is reducing childhood obesity in the country.

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