A sugary drinks duty: a tax grab with no health benefits

IEA responds to a new report calling for a tax on sugary drinks

Ahead of a new report out today which calls for a sugary drinks duty to be implemented in the 2013 Budget, Christopher Snowdon, Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“This is just another tax grab which, by Sustain’s own admission, will cost hard-pressed consumers £1 billion a year. The government should learn the lessons from Denmark, where a ‘fat tax’ was abandoned only two months ago because it was an economic and political disaster which did nothing to improve health. The only Western country to have taxed soft drinks for any length of time is the USA where the sky-high obesity rates bear witness to the ineffectiveness of these sort of measures. 

"Governments often promise that the proceeds of stealth taxes will be “ring fenced” for various projects but, in reality, this almost never happens. Much of the money will be swallowed up by whichever new quango is created to deal with the headache of deciding which products are ‘unhealthy’ and which are ‘sustainable’.

"A campaign to make people pay more for their food and drink at a ti