TaxPayers' Alliance raps sugar levy as unfair attack on the poor
The sugar tax will be an arbitrary burden on the poor that takes no account of the actual make-up of drinks, critics have warned.
The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) said some beverages laden with sugar will be exempt from the levy. It insists the measure should be junked after it carried out a comparison of 49 different drinks across three areas, fizzy and energy drinks which will be taxed, and milk-based ones and coffees which will not.
The survey found that Coca-Cola, with 10.6 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres, will be subject to the levy, but a Starbucks signature hot chocolate with whipped cream with coconut milk, which has 11 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres, will not. It also noted energy drinks such as Monster Origin, 11g/100ml, will be taxed, but Tesco chocolate flavoured milk, 12.4g/100ml, will not be.
The TPA's Jonathan Isaby said: "It is deeply concerning that the Government has given in to the pressures from the public health lobby and is pushing ahead with this regressive tax which will hit the poorest families hardest.
"The evidence shows that the sugar tax has nothing to do with the sugar content of products, so it is farcical to suggest this will have any positive impact on people's diet or lifestyle choices."
A Treasury spokesman said: "The soft drinks industry levy is a major step forward in our efforts to tackle childhood obesity. Treating obesity and its consequences costs the taxpayer £5.1bn every year."