Soft drinks sugar tax to cost 4,000 jobs

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The soft drinks tax may cost more than 4,000 jobs
The soft drinks tax may cost more than 4,000 jobs

Related tags: Soft drinks, Sucrose, Soft drink, British soft drinks association

The soft drinks sugar tax would threaten 4,000 jobs and cost £132M according to an Oxford Economics report.

The global forecasting group said the tax – proposed by former chancellor George Osborne – would negatively impact the economy, specifically hospitality and smaller retailers, for very little gain. They said the soft drinks tax would reduce daily calorie intake by just five calories per person, the equivalent to less than one fiftieth of a Mars bar.

The industry would reduce its contribution to the UK economy by £132M after the introduction of the soft drinks tax, the report found.

Oxford Economics also found a total of 4,030 jobs would be lost. More than half of those would come from outside the soft drinks industry, including retailers, delivery staff and convenience store workers.

‘Over 4,000 job losses’

Senior economist at Oxford Economics Nick Stewart said: “Early indications are that the soft drinks tax will lead to over 4,000 job losses across the UK.

“These are significant losses considering we estimate the tax will only lead to a reduction of just five calories per person, per day.”

More than 600 jobs would be lost in London, and 537 lost in the south east, according to the report. See the chart below for the Oxford Economic’s estimated regional job losses after the introduction of the soft drinks tax.

British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) director general Gavin Partington said: “This research shows the soft drinks tax is not only ineffective in fighting obesity but will come at a significant price for the economy, costing thousands of jobs.

“Post-Brexit, securing investment and jobs is more important than ever.”

Contributed to reducing sugar

Meanwhile, every soft drink category had contributed to reducing sugar content even without the sugar tax, claimed the BSDA. The organisation also said the industry had committed to not advertising regular soft drinks to under-16s across all media.

 “As an industry we recognise that obesity must be tackled,”​ said Partington, “which is why we have invested heavily in reformulating drinks.

“Since 2012 this has led to a 16% reduction in sugar intake from soft drinks. The tax is therefore unnecessary and harmful to our economy.”

Don’t miss Food Manufacture editor Rick Pendrous’ thoughts on the soft drinks tax​.

Soft drinks tax report from Oxford Economics – at a glance

  • Daily calorie reduction of 5 calories per person with soft drink tax
  • Tax would lower industry’s contribution to economy by £132M
  • 4,030 jobs would be lost following tax introduction

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