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Sugar-tax plan for soft drinks 'will cost jobs'

A MOVE to introduce a 'sugar tax' on fizzy drinks would mean job losses among the 230,000 people directly or indirectly employed in the food and drink sector, it was claimed last night.

Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) was responding to statements by Health Minister James Reilly that he was looking at imposing a tax on soft drinks to help fight obesity. He said his officials were looking to France, where soft drinks were targeted for extra taxes to reduce over-consumption.

However, he was not able to say how large the tax would be.

"The Department of Health is looking at the ramifications," he added.

But the FDII said the tax would be discriminatory.

"The industry has been highlighted by many as a vehicle for Irish economic recovery; any move to impose a discriminatory tax on the sector would potentially stunt this future potential growth and ultimately result in job losses," said a spokeswoman.

Irish Independent