sugar tax

Article published by Nature (Nature 531, 551 (31 March 2016) doi:10.1038/531551a) written by Dr Adam Briggs


Health campaigners and political observers got a surprise in the United Kingdom's latest budget. This month, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a sugar tax in the form of a levy on sugary-drinks manufacturers.

This is a bold and welcome move from a Conservative government that has often been criticized for not standing up to industry. It demonstrates that officials and policymakers have heeded advice and now recognize that sugar is a public-health problem that needs legislative control. The tax has potential implications not just for public health and the global soft-drinks industry, but also for the ability of all governments to act on market failures in food.

Britain will not be the first place to introduce a sugar-drink tax. Mexico, France, Hungary and Finland, among others, have taxed sugary drinks; South Africa, the Philippines, Indonesia and India are considering doing so. Hungary and Finland have also taxed some unhealthy foods.


Our researchers' reactions to George Obsorne's inclusion of a sugar tax in the latest governmental budget:

Professor Susan Jebb:


A combination of a carbon tax on food and a tax on sugary drinks in the UK could lead to health benefits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise up to GB£3.6 billion revenue, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.