Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of a sugar tax on soft drinks at yesterday’s 2016 Budget.
The move to introduce levies in 2018 follows an array of suggested measures from Scotland’s public sector food body in January 2016 towards meeting Scotland’s Dietary Goals in which considering sugar tax was recommended.
FSS Board evidence indicated that sugar taxation would lead to a reduction in purchases proportionate to the level of tax applied, and that a tax of 10% to 20% would be necessary to have a significant impact on purchases, consumption, and ultimately population health.
FSS Chief Executive Geoff Ogle said: “We welcome the news from Westminster on a future soft drinks sugar tax as a first step and look forward to the detail of the announcement to comment further.
“By 2030 obesity levels for Scotland are currently projected at 40% of the total population so tackling our diet is an urgent priority.
“Whilst this positive step can make a significant contribution to improving Scotland’s diet and has proved itself successful in other countries such as Mexico, it alone will not address the immense challenge in front of us, and as outlined at the beginning of the year, other actions will be required.”
In addition to a potential sugar tax, the recommended actions from the 20 January FSS Board meeting included reformulation and control over portion sizes as well as price promotions.
Mr Ogle continued: “As we approach the end of our first year it’s good to see movement towards a fiscal measure that appears to fit within our Board’s earlier recommendations on what has become an entrenched problem.
“While this is a first step in the right direction there is still a lot more to do to improve Scotland’s diet and that will require collaboration across government, industry and other stakeholders. FSS will continue to offer leadership and coordination to bring about real change for Scotland.”
Maria Tocher, FSS Senior Communications manager firstname.lastname@example.org 01224 285127
Emma Bain, Consolidated PR – email@example.com / 0131 240 6420