News / Children's Food Campaign

Budget 2017 confirms meaningful rates for Soft Drinks Industry Levy

Good news from the Budget. The Chancellor has confirmed the final Soft Drinks Industry Levy rates of 18 pence per litre and 24 pence per litre for the two sugar bands at 5g/100ml and 8g/100ml respectively. It is now over to MPs to pass the legislation, and then manufacturers and retailers to continue to raise their sugar reduction game.

Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of Children's Food Campaign, welcoming the Budget 2017 news about the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, said:

“The Chancellor’s confirmation of the sugary drinks tax rates today is vindication of the efforts parents, campaigners and health professionals have made to counteract industry’s opposition to the tax." 

"It is now over to MPs to pass the legislation, and then manufacturers and retailers to continue to raise their sugar reduction game.”

As the Treasury itself confirms:

  • The levy is already working. Since we announced the measure last March several major companies have accelerated their reformulation work to cut sugar ahead of introduction in April 2018. These include Tesco, Lucozade-Ribena-Suntory and AG Barr.
  • We now expect more than 40% of all drinks that would otherwise have been in-scope to have been reformulated by the introduction of the levy.
  • This means that the forecast revenues for the levy are now, but we will continue to fund schools with the £1 billion we originally expected from the levy this Parliament – including money for schools sports, breakfast clubs and a new Healthy Pupils Capital Fund.
     

Malcolm Clark, of Children's Food Campaign, further commented:

“It is welcome news that the Chancellor has held his nerve and kept the Soft Drinks Industry Levy rates at the meaningful levels originally proposed.  The prospect of those rates has already led to significant sugar reduction moves, and had a positive ripple effect on other sectors, as well as in Ireland and further afield." 

"The experience from other countries shows that the biggest health impact is felt only when sugar-free products are priced cheaper than their sugary counterparts. That £1billion funding to help schools promote healthier lifestyles has been guaranteed is also great news for children’s health.”

The Obesity Health Alliance, which Children's Food Campaign is a member of, also issued this response to today's Budget:

“The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is a bold, positive and necessary move we believe will help reduce the amount of sugar our children consume. 

“There is evidence from other countries that show similar taxes have helped to reduce the amount of sugary soft drinks consumed.

“We’ve already seen a number of companies in the UK announce plans to reduce sugar content in their products, so clearly the potential impact is huge. This is a significant step in the battle against obesity and the Government should be applauded for its commitment to seeing it through.”

Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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