If this proposed tax is enforced, there will be an inevitable knock-on effect for each and every consumer in England.
What shop is going to sell their otherwise identical sugary and non-sugary drinks for different prices?
Just as an example, Tesco Fiery Ginger Beer is 55p for 2 litres, and is available in “regular” and “no added sugar” varieties. If you take the example in the BBC article on the proposed tax of Mexico’s 10% added to sugary drinks, the “regular” bottle would become 61p (because they’d round it up from 60.5p, obviously), while the “no added sugar” variety would arguably remain at 55p. But what benefit is there to the shop in having the two varieties sold at different prices? Yes, they’d get more sales of the “no added sugar” drink, and that would (possibly) be more healthy for consumers. But then they’d have a surplus of the “regular” variety, which would only emphasise the fact that they sell it in the first place, which makes them look bad.
Now they’ll have two choices; stop selling the “regular” version, or increase the price of the “no added sugar” version. The latter is the more logical choice, because it’s not fair to stop people who drink the “regular” version responsibly from being able to do so. So you end up with the healthier version of the same drink being “taxed” by association, and consumers who are responsible enough to buy the healthier version are equally penalised for enjoying a nice cold glass of ginger beer if they have a dodgy belly (seriously, it’s great for stomach aches).NB
With sugary drinks come sugary foods…
Then there’s the whole gamut of other sugary foods. Are we not already spending enough on chocolate? Do we really need to give supermarkets a reason to start charging us more? Given that after a “reasonable period”, the government likely extend the tax to include all sugary teats, we’ll end up being gouged again when the supermarkets put the prices up again.
Fair enough, bread’s getting cheaper again, but I remember being able to buy a Tesco Value loaf for 8p, and even with the latest round of bread wars, it’s still five times that now. When will the madness end?
Oh, and before I forget, HAPPY ST ANDREWS DAY to everybody in Scotland… and also in Cyprus, Romania, Russia, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Columbia, San Andres Island and St Andrew, Barbados – basically, if St Andrew is your country’s patron saint, have a good one!
Yes, I will concede that Tesco seem to sell more sugar free/reduced sugar versions than they do regular versions, this is just an example, and is no way a slight on Tesco. As long as I can still feed a family of seven for a week on less than £60 by buying mostly Everyday Value products, then they’re OK in my book.↑