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Soft drinks manufacturers could sue over sugar tax

22 March 2016

Fizzy drink manufacturers are considering legal action against the government over its sugar tax. 

The tax, announced in last week’s budget, will come into force in 2018. It will raise £520m in its first year, and will cost £1bn to implement. 

Suing the government is one option that is being considered by soft drinks manufacturers. 

“At this stage all options are on the table,” said Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association.

“We need clarification about how this tax is going to work, exactly what's excluded and what's not. Nothing can be ruled out at this stage.”

The new tax will add 24p a litre to high sugar soft drinks, which could be passed onto shoppers through higher prices at the checkout. 

Drinks companies like Britivic, which makes Robinsons juice, and AGG, which makes Irn Bru, have seen share price falls in the wake of the tax announcement. 

A HM Treasury spokesman defended the sugar tax, and said the money raised would be invested in schools. 

“This will be used to double the primary PE and sport premium (the additional money schools have to spend on PE and sports) to £320 million a year,” the spokesman said.

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