UK sugar tax

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, March 17th, 2016 - 27 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, health, tax, uk politics - Tags: , , , , , ,

The UK has done the sensible thing for public health and introduced “a new tax on sugary drinks”. Proceeds of the levy will be used (so they say) to fund school sports. Stuff has a good Q&A.

Jamie Oliver has called it “A profound move that will ripple around the world”. The Herald asks: UK sugar tax – could NZ be next? Well, no sign of it so far in the Nats’ “obesity policy”, which studiously ignored sugar. Just coincidentally, National is deeply in bed with sugar lobbyists and attacks on public health science.

27 comments on “UK sugar tax”

  1. Ad 1

    Pretty bold for a Conservative government.
    The Mexican results don’t appear overwhelming.

  2. Rodel 2

    Not just fizzy drinks. Count the sugar content in most food products and divide by 4.2 to get the number of teaspoons of sugar.The sugar content in ordinary milk will surprise you.

    Good book is ‘That sugar Book’.

    • alwyn 2.1

      “sugar content in ordinary milk”
      Yes more than a teaspoon/100 ml I see.
      I wonder how they are going to word the bill? Would it become a tax on fruit juice as well as products like Coke. I see that the orange juice I have each morning has 9gm or 2 teaspoons per 100ml. The supposed serving size has more than 5 teaspoons. Luckily I only have a tiny glass.
      I think orange juice is a healthy food, not something that should have the price pushed up. I suppose sugar is sugar though.

      • dv 2.1.1

        Yes more than a teaspoon/100 ml I see.

        Sucrose or Lactose?

        • Murray Simmonds 2.1.1.1

          There’s a helluva big difference between “sugar” and “ADDED sugar”. That’s the issue.

          And YES, dv, that’s exactly it. Not all sugars are born equal. Cane sugar is the biggest part of the problem of “added sugar”. Fructose is not sucrose is not lactose. Individuals differ widely in their response to these three. The “sugar lobby”, as I see it, is mainly concerned with “added sucrose”.

          For “sugar lobby” read . . . . well, you know who. (Heh, heh, Thats Rich).

          • Corokia 2.1.1.1.1

            Sucrose IS fructose combined with glucose

            • dv 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Sucrose IS fructose combined with glucose

              Sort of like water is Hydrogen and Oxygen

              • Corokia

                Not really, you are splitting a water molecule into atoms, I was correcting Murray who said fructose wasn’t sucrose. Well strictly speaking it isn’t, but he seemed unaware that sucrose is the name given to the compound made of fructose and glucose

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1.2

            Indeed. Large amounts of added sugar, and the pervasiveness of added sugar, is a huge problem. Natural sugars can be part of a healthy diet but still need to be watched. (because strawberries every meal is probably not a good idea, for instance)

      • Raf 2.1.2

        Don’t fall into their trap and exacerbate confusion. Added refined sugar is the problem.

      • Rodel 2.1.3

        They also report servings as much less than real servings. e.g a serving of say juice as 200 ml whereas the usual serving is probably more like 300ml. Gives a false impression of less sugar content without actually telling lies..

  3. greywarshark 3

    NZ will check 1 -ow much the sugar industry donates to the coffers.
    2-Who are we mates with who wouldn’t like it – and what would they demand in recompense?
    3-How much GST revenue would we lose approximately if less drinks were consumed sweeties etc.?
    (A pause here for comment and chuckles round the table of legislators about not wanting to limit sweeties).
    4-A thought that their National constituents would be likely to think overall, that it would be a good thing are cut the health bills. And the big consumers don’t vote National.

    So it’s really down to what other countries do which are trying to appear to give damn about health of the populace and consider it a step worth taking to keep health concerns and costs down. Say Britain and the USA?

    We’ll make a start and convene a committee to examine the proposal. Anything can be done – but we are wary of doing something for the first time (that may interrupt our revenue flow.)

    • David 3.1

      You forget that we have just signed the TPPA, pretty sure the external sugar lobby will not allow NZ to do anything to endanger that.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        @David
        I wish I could forget about the TPPA. But probably considerations of it would fit in somewhere in my numbered responses. No.2 I think, we are bedmates with USA and they would definitely want recompense big time. So I guess that means no go?

        Isn’t life exciting, you just never know what will happen next. Soon TV will stop showing fiction and we will gather at Primtime to the New Truman Show for the latest update of what our esteemed leaders are doing on their game boards, or war gaming tables as the case may be.

      • Murray Simmonds 3.1.2

        The TPPA doesn’t kick in quite yet, David, so there’s still time to enact legislation without being clobbered by the iSDT . . .

        OOOppps, I forgot. We have a National Government.

        • AB 3.1.2.1

          Yes – I’m hoping someone puts Jonathan Coleman under the spotlight on this one. The man is truly a snake in the grass – a health minister who seems to have no sense of his responsibility to do the best he can for the health and well-being of EVERY citizen. Instead he seems to want to be a defender of corporate profits.

  4. BM 4

    Moar Beer.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Ow. I’m not allowed to edit my comment sorry. It’s a bit rough round the edges, in the middle, and on the sides! Sounds like a coconut rough, or maybe a do-nut. Doh, says Homer don’t tax donuts. That almost has a hidden message – don’ts!

  6. gsays 6

    i am a bit concerned that with these health ‘initiatives’ we will see a massive rise in the consumption of artificial sweetners or accumulative neuro toxins as we like to call them in this home.

  7. Detrie 7

    Yes, it will be interesting to see what occurs in the UK. We already tax other harmful items like tobacco and alcohol. However I’m sure the food manufacturers will come up with cheap alternatives to sugar that will be equally harmful.

  8. NZJester 8

    Rater than a tax on ‘Sugar’ I think a tax break on more healthy foods might be a better idea. The government already taxes the poor enough already. The type of sugar they put in a lot of the cheap foods is also very different to the sugar found in a lot of more high quality foods.
    High-fructose corn syrup is way less healthy per gram compared with Sucrose for instance. While High-fructose tends to get turned directly into fat the Sucrose at least gives you the energy for a short time to help burn it off before it gets turned to fat.

    • The only tax you pay on produce is GST, and carving out exemptions or discounts to GST becomes a huge game of definitions. (eg. what counts as “fresh”? If I cover it in sugar does it still count? What if I serve it in a restaurant? etc…)

  9. ScottGN 9

    This was really nothing but a clever distraction by Osborne who’s been forced to concede that the rosy numbers he triumphantly unveiled just a few months ago at the Autumn Statement had pretty much evaporated in the face of continued roiling global uncertainty and the slowdown in China.

  10. Wainwright 10

    Narrow-minded rubbish. Guess it suits the people who think the poor are too stupid to turn on a tap.

    • AB 10.1

      Funny how it is always the poor who must have iron will and self-discipline. So surrounded by cheap, tasty fizz they must resist it and drink water. The comfortably off, not so much – you feel like some wine with dinner, $23 bottle of pinot no problem.
      This ghastly Victorian moralising about the decision-making of the less well-off makes me puke. Humans are humans, rich or poor we take our pleasures where we can find them.

  11. saveNZ 11

    Good policy by the UK. Hope they bring it in here. NZ is one of most obese countries in the world and diabetes is a big problem.

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