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Sugar tax starts in UK

The sugar tax on soft drinks has taken effect from today (6th April 18).

This means that manufacturers of soft drinks will be forced to pay a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell. Makers of soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml will pay 18p a litre to the Treasury. That increases to 24p a litre if the sugar content is over 8g per 100ml.

This cost will subsequently be passed on to retailers and customers. The Government and health campaigners hope the higher prices will put consumers off buying the most sugary drunks and lead to a significant decline in obesity.

Many drinks have changed their formulations to escape the levy- most notably Irn Bru, whose recipe change was faced with a petition backed by 52,000 public signatures demanding they keep it the same.

But original classics such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola Classic are not changing their recipe and will therefore attract the levy. The cost of a 330ml can of the original Coca-Cola, which contains around seven teaspoons of sugar, is likely to rise by 8p plus VAT.

But more than 50% of manufacturers have changed their formulas to cut sugar, according to figures last month from the Treasury.

This tax is very much aimed at high-sugar drinks, particularly fizzy drinks, which are popular among teenagers. It is imposed according to the volume of the sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import and on the amount of sugar in drinks.

There are two bands: sugar content above 5g per 100 millilitres and sugar content with more than 8g per 100 millilitres.