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Manufacturers slam new sugar tax as 'political theatre'

16 March 2016

The UK will introduce a tax on sugary drinks in a move that has attracted the ire of food and drink manufacturers. 

George Osbourne announced in his budget that the government would introduce a £520million levy on sugary drinks in order to curb the rise of childhood obesity. The tax will be introduced in two years time.

Celebrity chef and anti sugar campaigner Jamie Oliver tweeted: “We did it guys !!we did it !!! A sugar levy on sugary sweetened drinks ...... A profound move.”

However, the Food and Drink Federation hit out at the budget announcement. 

“We are extremely disappointed by today's announcement of a new tax on some of the UK's most successful and innovative companies,” said Ian Wright CBE, Director General of the FDF.

“For nearly a year we have waited for an holistic strategy to tackle obesity.  What we've got today instead is a piece of political theatre. 

“The imposition of this tax will, sadly, result in less innovation and product reformulation, and for some manufacturers is certain to cost jobs.   Nor will it make a difference to obesity.  Many of those singled out today by the Chancellor have been at the forefront of efforts to provide consumers with healthy choices. The industry will now ask whether such efforts are still affordable.” 

According to the British Soft Drinks Association, 57 per cent of the soft drink market is low or zero calorie, five per cent mid calorie, 38 per cent regular.

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