The government is pushing ahead with its plans for a soft drinks tax after the measure was confirmed in today’s Queen’s Speech.
During the state opening of Parliament, the Queen laid out the government’s planned bills, which include a finance bill for next year featuring a sugar tax.
Plans to allow local authorities to retain 100% of the business rates they levy were also confirmed as part of a new Local Growth and Jobs Bill.
The sugar tax, which George Osborne first announced in his Budget in March, is due to take effect by April 2018. The measure is designed to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis.
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.
Two categories of taxation will exist – one for total sugar content above 5g per 100ml, and a second, higher band for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.
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”.
However, Coca-Cola Enterprises general manager Leendert Den Hollander criticised the measure at Retail Week Live, arguing it is not “the right solution”.