Prime Minister Liz Truss is reportedly considering scrapping the sugar tax on soft drinks to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has reportedly asked health officials to review measures put into place to help control obesity in the UK ‘in the context of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis’. According to reports, the Chancellor is set to deliver a mini Budget on 23 September: this may contain further details on the revision of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL).
The SDIL took effect from April 2018. It has a lower rate which applies to added sugar drinks with a total sugar content of 5 grams or more per 100 millilitres, and a higher rate for drinks with 8 grams or more per 100 millilitres. The SDIL is aimed at producers, packagers and importers.
Experts have warned that scrapping the SDIL would have an adverse effect on controlling obesity levels. Katharine Jenner, Director of the Obesity Health Alliance, said: ‘We are deeply concerned by rumours suggesting that the government might drop obesity policies which are designed to put healthy, affordable food in the spotlight.
‘This will not help the cost-of-living crisis in the short term, and in the long term would lead to serious consequences for our health, our economy and our NHS.
‘It would be reckless and a great shame to waste government and business time and money rowing back on these obesity policies, which are evidence-based and already in law.’