No doubt you will have seen the news in the 2016 Budget regarding the sugar tax. What impact will it have on consumers and the drinks companies?
It’s worth noting that the tax isn’t implied on all drinks containing sugar. The purpose of the tax is to place a levy on the most sugary drinks available, typically fizzy drinks. There won’t be a tax imposed on pure fruit juice drinks, although they can be very sugary drinks, but that’s typically because of the natural sugars found in smoothie drinks. However, not all producers of sugary fizzy drinks will have the levy applied. Smaller producers won’t have to suffer the consequences of the tax.
The sugar tax will be applied in a banding structure. The first band will apply a tax on sugary drinks that contain above 5g of sugar per 100ml, and the second band will see an additional levy applied for drinks containing 8g of sugar per 100ml. The Office for Budget Responsibility suggests the levies for the two bands will be applied at 18p and 24p per litre respectively.
Most sugary drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi will be subject to the high levy rate, with these products typically containing between 30-40g of sugar per can, which is much higher than the daily recommended intake of sugar for young people in just a single serving.
We all know about the impact of sugar on our oral health. The reason that sugar is so dangerous for our teeth is because the bacteria that form on our teeth become plaque and use sugar as energy. This helps to multiply the bacteria and the plaque and that build up on our teeth can cause problems, namely tooth decay. Less sugar in our diets not only helps to contribute to lower obesity levels but to healthier teeth and gums, for which there are links to lower heart disease and a range of associated health problems.
The government has announced that the money raised from the sugar tax will be used to fund sport activities in schools. That’s great. Hopefully the funding will also be used to educate young people about healthy lifestyle choices and the importance of oral health.