Soft drinks tax in Great Britain
“Once one sheep has crossed the dam, more will follow” – a Dutch saying that points towards humanity’s herd mentality, seems to ring true in this case. After Belgium introduced its sugar tax, the United Kingdom will also introduce a tax on sugar-containing soft drinks. This will be done by taxing both the production and import side of these drinks, and determining the height of taxation on the basis of the sugar content of the drinks.
Of course, this drastic measure has not come out of the blue. The tax is intended to combat the growing problem of obesity amongst British youth. Research conducted by the British National Health Service revealed that more than half of the British population is too heavy, and a quarter of the population is considered obese.
British youth in the age category of 16 to 29 (the heaviest soft drink consumers in Great Britain), drink almost three times as many soft drinks as their adult compatriots. British youth are the second heaviest of Europe. The government wants to intervene.
Firstly, it is expected that the 20-per cent rise in taxation on sugar-rich soft drinks (with the exception of juices) will reduce the consumption of sugar-rich soft drinks by 180,000 consumptions. Research indicates that this rise will cause a reduction of soft-drink consumption of around 15 per cent amongst the British. As a result of this, the number of British people suffering from obesity will decrease with 1.3 per cent, while the number of British people suffering from being overweight will decrease by 0.9 per cent.
On top of this, 276 million pounds of revenue will be generated through the taxation of sugar-containing soft drinks, which the government wants to use to “finance the British health care service in times of significant spending cutbacks.” Promoting healthy dietary habits and investing in gym lessons in primary schools are a few examples of ways in which this can be done.
According to researchers at the University of Oxford and the University of Reading , this measure will not solve the problem of obesity, but it can make a significant contribution to its solution, particularly if one considers that too much sugar in one’s early years plants the seed for obesity in adulthood.