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Is the UK’s proposed soft drink tax an effective way to reduce obesity?

Author:

Genevieve Joy

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
About Genevieve

Master of Public Administration in Public and Social Policy, Class of 2016

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Abstract

Obesity is one of the biggest health and economic problems facing the United Kingdom. Nearly 60 per cent of British adults are overweight or obese. Obesity costs the UK an estimated £73 billion per year and this burden is growing. Among the many factors driving obesity, there is one clear culprit: excessive sugar consumption. There has been an international move towards taxing soft drinks, which contain a lot of sugar, as a way to combat obesity. In the UK’s 2016 Budget, the Chancellor introduced plans for a levy on soft drinks producers and importers to be implemented in April 2018. The Treasury estimates that it will raise £1.5 billion in the first three years, which means the tax rate will likely be 15-20 per cent. There are many ways to go about fighting obesity, including taxing other high-calorie foods, improving school nutrition and implementing bans on where sugary drinks can be sold. Using an analytical framework that outlines the preconditions necessary for a soft drinks tax to reduce obesity, this paper aims to answer the question: Is the UK’s proposed soft drinks tax an effective way to reduce obesity?

How to Cite: Joy, G., 2017. Is the UK’s proposed soft drink tax an effective way to reduce obesity?. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 5(1), pp.131–155.
Published on 01 Jan 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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