Sunday 25 September 2016

Varadkar supports sugar tax proposal in Budget

Published 04/08/2016 | 02:30

Leo Varadkar at the launch of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed publication ‘Working for Work’ at Araby House in Dublin. Photo: Tom Burke
Leo Varadkar at the launch of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed publication ‘Working for Work’ at Araby House in Dublin. Photo: Tom Burke

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has said he is in favour of introducing a so-called 'sugar tax' in the Budget.

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A ten cent levy on a can of fizzy drink would yield the exchequer €100m, according to pre budget documents published by the Department of Finance.

While Mr Varadkar said he believes the measures should be included in October's Budget, he warned that a sugar tax is not the complete solution to tackling obesity.

"Yeah. I think a sugar tax is a good idea. I don't think it's the solution to obesity," Mr Varadkar said.

"A lot of different measures are going to be required to get on top of obesity, to reduce obesity in Ireland. My colleague (junior health minister) Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has developed a whole action plan around obesity which I think will contain a lot of really important measures that can make a difference and a sugar tax is just part of that. "

The Dublin West TD also acknowledged reported in the Irish Independent that the drinks industry is considering legal action to stave off such a tax.

"I suppose when you introduce any change, any new tax, or any change to the law, there's always the risk it could be challenged legally by those who don't agree with it," Mr Varadkar said.

Mr Varadkar made the remarks at the launch of the 23rd edition of the 'Working for You' handbook by the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU).

Speaking during the event, INOU chairperson Ann Fergus called directly on Mr Varadkar to fully restore the Christmas Bonus in the budget.

The minister told reporters afterwards that the issue will be considered during budget discussions with Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Irish Independent

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