Tuesday 18 December 2018

#HaveYourSay: Our readers on whether the sugar tax will play a big role in tackling the obesity crisis

Sugar tax Photo: PA
Sugar tax Photo: PA
Independent.ie Newsdesk

ALMOST half of Independent.ie readers do not believe the sugar tax will play an important role in tackling Ireland's obesity crisis.

A poll of readers - which garnered almost 5,000 responses, found that 46pc of respondents do not believe the tax will be instrumental in tackling obesity.

The Government's new sugar tax on soft drinks took effect on May 1.

The tax will see a levy of 16c per litre for water or juice-based drinks with between 5-8g of sugar per 100ml. It will rise to 24c per litre for varieties with more than 8g.

When VAT is included this works out at 20c per litre for drinks with between 5-8g of sugar per 100ml, and 30c per litre for drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml.

The tax only applies to water and juice-based drinks with added sugar. Fruit juices and dairy products are exempt from the tax on the ground that they offer nutritional value.

The tax is hoped to generate up to €40m for the Exchequer in the first year.

The measure could be seen as an initiative for soft drinks companies to reformulate their products in order to avoid the tax. As many as three-quarters of all soft drinks now sold in the Republic have less than 5g of sugar per 100ml.

It is hoped the sugar tax believe it will play an important role in tackling Ireland's obesity crisis, with one in four Irish children currently overweight or obese.

The move has been welcomed by the Irish Heart Foundation, which has been campaigning for the levy for seven years.

Some 28pc of respondents said the move was a "step in the right direction but we need more initiatives", while 14pc of respondents said the tax will not really contribute and "just hits th poorest the hardest".

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