South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne, has welcomed the five-year anniversary of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL), also known as the "sugar tax." The levy was introduced in 2018 to reduce the amount of sugar in soft drinks and promote healthier choices.
To celebrate the success of the SDIL, several organizations, including Sustain, the Obesity Health Alliance, British Heart Foundation, and Impact on Urban Health, have sent a Thank You card to MPs. In addition, a special podcast episode has been released to mark the occasion.
Since its introduction, academic teams across the UK have reviewed the impact of the SDIL, with a lot of evidence now emerging that it is working. The policy has reduced the amount of sugar in soft drinks, with products subject to the levy containing on average just 2.1g sugar per 100ml in 2020, compared with 3.8g per 100ml in 2015, a decrease of 46%.
The UK now consumes 46,400 tonnes less sugar through soft drinks that are subject to the levy in 2020 compared to 2015, a decrease of 34.3%, potentially lowering obesity rates. Emerging evidence suggests that the introduction of the Levy has been associated with 5,000 fewer cases of obesity among 11-year-old girls.
The levy has not impacted soft drinks sales, as some had feared, since have risen since their introduction, with 89% of sales now coming from low or non-sugar drinks. Over £1.3 billion has been raised for the Exchequer in revenues from the levy, which is being used to provide funding for primary school sports and PE, school breakfasts, and holiday activity programmes.
Commenting Philip Dunne said:
“As a former Minister for Health, I am really pleased to learn that this five year measure had such an impact after it came into effect. Healthier drinks are becoming more readily available, especially in schools where we know that good nutrition plays a critical role in development and long-term health outcomes”.