After the UK made the mad decision to tax sugar in beverages there has been a push from the health troughers to do the same here.
Oliver Hartwich from the NZ Initiative out lines why that is just silly.
[T]he sugar tax claims to address a real problem: child obesity. Everything else about it is slightly surreal, to put it mildly.
To start with, the tax won’t raise a sugar cube in the ocean of government finance. If everything goes according to plan (and what does?), it will yield £520 million a year. To put it into perspective, the UK budget deficit stands at £55 billion.
Okay, you might say, the limited scope of revenue-raising for HM Treasury does not matter. Taxing sugar is not about the money but about reducing the amount of sugar consumed. Fair enough. But then it is surprising what is taxed – and what is not. Though they call it a sugar tax, it is actually a fizzy sugary drinks tax.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne probably did not draw up his tax plans over a Starbucks coffee. Otherwise, he might have realised the great irony in the tax he is about to introduce.
Starbucks’ “Mulled Fruit – Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti” holds the record for the most sugary drink available anywhere in the UK. If a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, Mary Poppins could serve you the content of a travel aid kit with this monster of a drink. It contains 25 teaspoons of sugar – or 99g. By comparison, a standard can of Coke has about two-thirds less sugar.
Under Mr Osborne’s tax, however, coffees like this are exempt from the sugar tax, no matter how sweet they are. In fact, any milk-based drinks or fruit juice will not be liable for taxation.