Sugar tax leaves bitter-sweet taste for some drinkers
Talk about leaving a bitter-sweet taste in the mouths of drinkers . . .
The Chancellor froze duty on beers and spirits, which was welcomed by responsible drinkers and the wider pubs trade, underlining that the government has prioritised the hospitality sector as a key driver of the economy.
But in a bid to tackle the UK's childhood obesity problem, Mr Osborne is taxing firms that produce sugar-sweetened drinks, with a levy being brought in in two years' time to give them a chance to drive down their sugar content.
The so-called sugar tax is expected to raise £520 million which will be used to double the amount of funding for sport in every primary school, with secondary schools encouraged to offer more sport as part of longer school days.
However, Hospitality Ulster chief Colin Neill voiced concern at the sugar tax.
He said: “We are particularly concerned about the potential introduction of a sugar tax on soft drinks and are keen to establish further information on the proposal in due course.
"Sales of soft drinks from the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland run into the tens of millions of pounds per annum. The sector cannot be forced to foot the bill for this, nor will customers tolerate the passing on of increased costs.
"We urge the GB government to take a strong look at this before any proposal is introduced in two years’ time,” he said.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver welcomed a tax on sugary drinks as "a profound move that will ripple around the world".
He took to Twitter and Instagram to praise the plan, saying "Our kids health comes first ..... Bold, brave, logical and supported by all the right people....now bring on the whole strategy soon to come ... Amazing news."
Meanwhile anti-smoking charities have warmly welcomed the increase in tobacco taxes, which will add 21p to a pack of 20 cigarettes and 44p to a 30g pack of hand-rolling tobacco.