The Sugar Tax should go the way of the Pasty Tax


Statement from the People Against Sugar Tax campaign

The sugar tax will be one of the silliest taxes in recent times. We all remember the pasty tax in 2012. It generated headlines all over the world before the Chancellor wisely scrapped the tax.

Well now we have the sugar tax, just as ridiculous, and yet it hasn’t been scrapped yet. At least there was a logic behind the pasty tax (to tidy up some anomalies in VAT legislation). With the sugar tax, there is no such logic. There is no logic to the tax at all.

When considering all of the evidence out there, it is one of the most bizarre tax proposals in recent times.

To start with, fizzy drink consumption is already falling. Figures from DEFRA show that fizzy drink consumption (excluding diet) is 19% lower than in 2011. We have seen other official figures showing it’s 45% lower than 2003 too.

Then there is the current state of the UK soft drinks market. Low and non-sugar soft drinks account for 63% (some people say 50%) of the soft drinks market. What does this show? It shows that people are already making healthier choices.

This is confirmed by our own research which looked at the top ten most popular fizzy drink products on three leading supermarket websites. This research showed that 6 of the top 10 best sellers on all three websites were diet and low sugar alternatives.

So why are the health campaigners jumping up and down about sugar? We have no idea. But it is increasingly irrational. Especially when you consider that obesity is more than just about sugar. It is wrong to blame just sugar for obesity and nothing else.

And then there is the intrusion of the nanny state on our food and drink choices. Health campaigners have absolutely no mandate for dictating our food and drink choices. They are unelected and unaccountable, and yet they still feel they have the right to dictate government health policy. Jaffa Cakes for breakfast? Why not.

The People against Sugar Tax campaign was built on a keenness to bring about a more balanced debate in the media about sugar.

From day one, it has been our mission to be a grassroots campaign. Standing up for ordinary people up and down the country is what we believe in. This will not change.

We believe that with a more rational and calm debate about sugar, most people will agree that a sugar tax is a bad idea.

Essentially, our job is to show people that we are on their side. We are also strongly focused on persuading politicians why they must reject a sugar tax.

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The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty