Fianna Fáil says sugar tax will raise €58m

Fianna Fáil unveils 20% sugar tax but Senator Mary White says the measure would not apply to chocolate



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21 April 2015

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A 20% sugar tax on sugary drinks has been proposed as part of Fianna Fáil’s new health policy unveiled today (Tuesday, 21 April 2015). The party believes the measure would generate €58 million in taxes.

Fianna Fáil is likewise proposing a ban on fatty foods being advertised before 9pm, and for  alcohol companies’ sponsorship of sporting events to be phased out over a period of five years.

Under Fianna Fáil, an Office of Alcohol Control would be set up with the goal of “holistically address[ing] the diverse drivers and consequences of harmful alcohol consumption in Ireland”.

The proposals will be implemented if the party is returned to government after the next election. They form part of a broader health policy whereby Fianna Fáil has proposed €450.8 million in extra health spending annually and for responsibility for the Budget to be restored to the HSE.

Approximately €322.8 million of the proposed extra spending would come from general taxation, with the remaining €128 million coming from revenue-boosting measures including reductions in the drugs budget and the use of agency staff.

Despite her party unveiling sugar tax proposals, Newstalk reports that Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White, the co-founder of Lir Chocolates, has said a sugar tax would not apply to chocolate because it is not a typical snack.

Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) has previously said that a sugar tax would increase the cost of the weekly household shop. The body claimed such measures would only serve to depress consumer demand and damage the prospects for recovery.

The Irish Beverage Council has also said the measure will not tackle obesity. “There is significant evidence to suggest that taxes, in particular discriminatory taxes, are an ineffective approach to tackling complex diet and lifestyle-related problems,” the council stated.



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