Liz Truss faces obstacles in plan to scrap sugar tax

Liz Truss plan to scrap sugar tax faces legal problems

Liz Truss is facing difficulties in scrapping the sugar tax following backlash from leading health experts.

According to The Guardian, sources at Whitehall say there is ‘a question mark’ over how the prime minister can move past a number of legal and parliamentary obstacles when it comes to removing the sugar tax.

Also known as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, the tax was introduced in 2018 in a bid to tackle childhood obesity. It raises around £300 million a year and has resulted in sugar cuts of up to 30% in certain soft drinks.

Reports also suggest that Truss will also stop upcoming plans to restrict multi-buy deals on foods high in fat, salt or sugar.

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Fall in sugar

Truss is a firm believer that the state should not tell people what to eat, previously stating that ‘taxes on treats hit those of the lowest incomes’.

But a study last year revealed that the amount of sugar purchased by households fell by 10% in the year following the levy’s introduction.

While the volume of soft drinks purchased remained the same, the amount of sugar in those drinks was 30g lower per household per week.

Dr David Pell, the study’s first author, said: ‘A 10% drop in the amount of sugar purchased from soft drinks might sound modest. But we know there’s an association between the amount of sugar drinks we consume and the risk of developing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

‘Cutting out even a relatively small amount of sugar should have important impacts on the number of people with obesity and diabetes.’

Katherine Jenner, the director of the Obesity Health Alliance, added: ‘There are few policies that are good for business, good for health and good for government. The soft drinks industry levy is one of them.’

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