British Sugar, a subsidiary of Primark-owner Associated British Foods, has joined forces with business groups to fight the proposed tax.
The sugar supplier has teamed up with industry associations, including the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and the British Soft Drinks Association, to call on the Government to scrap its mooted sugar tax in a campaign launched today.
The campaign group claims the levy will do little to tackle obesity and will instead lead to thousands of job losses and higher prices for consumers.
Dubbed ’Face the Facts, Can the Tax’, the campaign follows a report by Oxford Economics that warned the tax would cost more than 4,000 job losses across the UK, mainly among hospitality companies and small retailers.
British Sugar managing director Paul Kenward told The Telegraph: “We question if a tax is the appropriate measure.
“Tax is often used by governments to reduce consumption, but in this case there is no credible evidence that a sugar tax will prompt a change in consumer behaviour.”
National Federation of Retail Newsagents boss Paul Baxter added: “Our members are small business owners that are struggling to make ends meet in a very difficult economy.
“Piling on more ill thought-out policies that will only make things more difficult for retailers while doing nothing to address the serious problem of obesity does not make sense.”
The Government is expected to announce a consultation into the tax on high-sugar drinks, which was unveiled by George Osborne in his last budget, and is scheduled to come into force in 2018.
Drinks manufacturers, including retailers who sell own-brand products, will be taxed according to the quantity of the sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import.
Grocers – including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose – have already been reformulating drinks to cut the amount of sugar. Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe called the sugar tax a “step in the right direction”.