The Government had ruled out any form of sugar tax but The Times reports that a new study which shows a 10% tax on sugary drinks in Mexico led to a 12% fall in sales has swayed opinion.
One Whitehall source told the paper: “We want to learn the lessons from examples such as the sugary drinks tax in Mexico. This does not mean a tax on sugar — your bag of Tate & Lyle isn’t about to become more expensive. And there are still lots of arguments against. But we have not ruled anything out and no decisions have been made.”
Sarah Wollaston, the chairwoman of the health select committee, said: “I don’t think that there’s a closed door — it just needs enough people to make the case. So many people have come out in favour and I think there’s a real momentum about this. There’s a realisation that the public aren’t opposed to this because they are more worried about childhood obesity.”
She added: “We should start calling it a sugary drinks tax — if you call it a sugar tax it makes people nervous — and the advantage of a sugary drinks tax is that you can completely avoid it because there are directly equivalent products that aren’t stuffed full of sugar. Nobody has to pay it, so it’s not regressive.”