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Sugary drinks tax would hurt poor for little health benefit

Posted on November 30, 2015

Campaigners have criticised the Commons' Health Committee following the publication of a report arguing for a range of measures to tackle childhood obesity.

Action on Consumer Choice, which campaigns for freedom of choice around eating, drinking, smoking and vaping, argues that the committee's proposals are illiberal and regressive.

A sugary drinks tax, it said, would have limited impact on consumption while forcing people who are less well-off to pay a bigger share of their income to buy and consume many popular drinks.

Rob Lyons, campaigns manager at Action on Consumer Choice, said:

"The causes of childhood obesity are complex and difficult to tackle. But the effect of a sugary drinks tax is quite simple. It will force everyone, regardless of their weight or health, to pay more.

"Poorer people will be forced to choose between sacrificing more of their limited income or effectively facing a soft drinks prohibition. That is patronising, unfair and illiberal and, in all probability, utterly ineffective."