Sugar tax, why we should care.

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One of the biggest news stories this week was that chancellor George Osborne had unveiled the new budget plans for 2016/17. Some key budget announcements which may affect students were;

  • 2% increase in tax on cigarettes and 3% on rolling tobacco, however duty on beer, cider, whiskey and spirits is frozen.
  • A million more jobs will be created during this parliament, 90% of which will be in skilled occupations and three quarters will be full time.
  • Lifetime ISA will allow those under 40 to save up to £4,000 a year from April 2017 by the government giving £1 for every £4 savers save.
  • £20m is being invested to help young people on the property ladder in the South West.

However, the main point which I want to focus on is the fact that Britain is going to become one of the first countries in the world to introduce a tax on sugared drinks. In a surprise announcement Mr Osborne released plans for a 24p-a-litre tax on drinks including Coca Cola, Iron Bru and Ribena which contain high concentrations of sugar.

aluminum-87966_960_720 copyThe new levy has been introduced with the intention of reducing childhood obesity and raising £500 million which will go towards investing in school sports. The plans will come into place from April 2018.

The policy has represented a change in position for David Cameron who ruled it out the levy in October, claiming there were more effective ways of tackling obesity.

The new tax is not a blanket tax like many wanted and will only apply to sugar based drinks and not milk based products which contain as much if not more sugar or sugary foods such as cakes and cookies.

So what does this mean for students exactly?

Well, our sport funding wont go up as we aren’t primary school children and this change isn’t exactly aimed at helping our generation, but rather making us pay more for our mixers.

The Office for Budget Responsibility say its levy will lead to a substantial pay rise on products. We could see as much as an 80% rise on the cost of a two-litre bottle of own-brand cola.

So, instead of paying 53p for a two-litre bottle of ASDA Chosen By You Diet Cola for your pre-drinks you could look at being charged as much as 96p.

The increase isn’t necessarily a bad thing since a standard can of Coca-Cola contains 7 teaspoons of sugar equating to 35g in total which is nearly you’re entire recommended daily sugar intake.

However, due to corporation tax cuts, we may not even see these changes and our sugary drinks may stay at a low price rather than drastically increasing. Fingers-crossed.

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