Ribena Tax

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31/01/2013 at 12:03

What do you think about the calls for a tax on sugary drinks to be included in the budget?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21228122

Even if it was introduced, I wonder if it would stick after the furore over the pasty tax last year!

31/01/2013 at 12:36

....you're meant to dilute that Ribena y'know !

Seriously I believe the thinking is flawed at the moment.  A charity, Sustain,  "say it would raise £1bn a year in duty to fund free fruit and meals in schools to improve children's health."

...but what are those meals going to be and will the nice, ballpark figure if £1bn be used for fruit/food or for other things ??

and the final sentence rather hammers home the fact that sugary drinks aren't completely at fault,

"Over the past 10 years,the consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9% while the incidence of obesity has increased by 15%."

 

seren nos    pirate
31/01/2013 at 13:15

so does it include the diet drinks which might prove to be more harmful long term........

My boys school when they were little had the rules that only fruit could be taken in for mid morning snacks and lunch boxes could not contain fizzy drinks or chocolate and sweets......it was universal and it worked........

31/01/2013 at 13:44

I don't drink them - and I only use diet drinks a mixers 'cos neat vodka aint my thang 

Rafiki    pirate
31/01/2013 at 15:21

Would have to start drinking Holsten Pils ..... as more of the sugar turns to alcohol, so would be cheaper

31/01/2013 at 17:16

Damn, Dicky M, I thought I was doing something wrong!   I'm not convinced that the money raised by taxing soft drinks would all go on providing fruit & veg in schools, does all the money raised from taxing cigarettes go to NHS to be spent on smoking-related illness? I think not.

Seren, my primary school had similar rules - only allowed water or juice boxes in our packed lunch, and the people on school dinners could only have water. They encouraged us to bring in crisps for morning break though so it wasn't all good

31/01/2013 at 17:26

Me too, Screamy! I don't drink cocktails (well, "cocktails" like rum & coke!) very often, but that's pretty much the only time I have fizzy drinks. Coke without rum makes my teeth feel really horrible, like I can feel the sugar coating them. Yuck! 

Seren, I'm not sure if it counts diet drinks but agree that we don't know if all artificial sweeteners are safe/ safer than sugar. I read something a while ago about diet drinks being bad for diets because the sweeteners kick off your body's cravings for sugar, can't remember where though!

Also not sure what they'll do about the Sunny D type drinks that look like fruit juice but are actually horrible syrupy gunk. Or energy drinks. Maybe our race entries will go up because the organisers have to pay extra tax to fill the Lucozade stations!

31/01/2013 at 17:36

governments don't have a great track record of transparency of how revenue collected in the form of tax is then spent. partly because that then opens them up to the sort of scrutiny that is not really manageable i.e. there will always be groups who are vocal about the way public money should be spent, and the government has little interest in debating the finer details of this with the public. much better if they can grab as much as possible through as many disparate taxes as possible, then spend it how they bloody well like, thank you very much.

now be silent and get back to your cubicles minions!

31/01/2013 at 17:59

I think taxing any kind of food is always going to be a difficult issue for many reasons.

However IF a tax on cr*p food is deemed to be a good thing - sugary fizzy drinks would surely be the first ones to get attacked. 

01/02/2013 at 11:09

There is a massive backlash against the restriction on soft drink sizes in New York, some people claiming its a violation of human rights. Personally, I think its a good idea but it fits in with my own opinions on healthy food/drink. I wouldn't like it if the government tried to legislate what we should be eating/drinking so I think a tax would be more effective than an outright ban.

Maybe it would be more effective to tax the manufacturers? Or have penalties for drinks that contain over a certain amount of sugar. Similar to the environmental targets on large companies.

01/02/2013 at 12:59

It's very easy for me to think - yeah go on tax the fizzy drinks - I haven't touched any in years - and neither do my kids.  As far as I am concerned they are pure evil (and that includes all diet versions too) - it's water and coffee for us

 

I would probably be happy for a tax on all sorts of stuff - that 'I' consider to be bad for us. However a few years ago that would have included anything too high fat - now that I am more aware of how good fat is for you, I have changed my mind.  I don't think that there is enough of a concensus YET that we could happily slap a tax on certain foodstuffs and be sure it was the right thing.  (except for fizzy drinks and sweets). 

01/02/2013 at 13:13

If the purpose of taxing fizzy drinks is to stop people buying them, with the very noble aim of making the Nation healthier, then I really don't see that it will work... If they're still available, and people's attitudes to what's healthy and what's not don't change, the same people will continue to buy them.

Even if the purpose is simply to raise funding for the NHS, I can't see the additional tax would ever be ring-fenced in this way.

Instead of taxation, which is a pretty blunt tool, I would prefer to see pressure on manufacturers to reduce the sugar (and artificial sweetener) used in products.

It's worked with salt reduction, for example, where manufacturers have gradually been reducing the amount of salt in many processed foods, to the point where the UK 'taste' is now far more accustomed to lower salt levels.

 

 

 

 

01/02/2013 at 20:15

Except for bread in my case which now tastes like damp flannel.

01/02/2013 at 20:17

There are a range of things they could do but I would go further than voluntary agreements.   Maybe ban advertising and make any drink or food judged to be over an unhealthy level of refined sugar be sold with cigarette style labels - name of product, health warning and pictures of Shane McGowan's teeth or a diabetic ulcerated foot or similar.  Diet drinks could be labelled similarly but with warnings they are full of chemicals that will make your appetite go haywire and probably give you cancer.  In other words let people have the unpalatable truth about it at the point they consume it.

seren nos    pirate
01/02/2013 at 20:18
GymAddict wrote (see)

It's very easy for me to think - yeah go on tax the fizzy drinks - I haven't touched any in years - and neither do my kids.  As far as I am concerned they are pure evil (and that includes all diet versions too) - it's water and coffee for us

 

I would probably be happy for a tax on all sorts of stuff - that 'I' consider to be bad for us. However a few years ago that would have included anything too high fat - now that I am more aware of how good fat is for you, I have changed my mind.  I don't think that there is enough of a concensus YET that we could happily slap a tax on certain foodstuffs and be sure it was the right thing.  (except for fizzy drinks and sweets). 

but coffee isn't good for you .all that caffeine...where do you start.............and where do you stop.......the fact is everything in moderation is ok.......anything in excess isn't.....The government can't even get a decent stab at what is luxury and there fore vatable.and what is a necessity and therefore not vatable

01/02/2013 at 21:08
xine267 wrote (see)

There is a massive backlash against the restriction on soft drink sizes in New York, some people claiming its a violation of human rights. Personally, I think its a good idea but it fits in with my own opinions on healthy food/drink. I wouldn't like it if the government tried to legislate what we should be eating/drinking so I think a tax would be more effective than an outright ban.

Maybe it would be more effective to tax the manufacturers? Or have penalties for drinks that contain over a certain amount of sugar. Similar to the environmental targets on large companies.

Morons will always jump up and down about their "human rights"  though Xine. if they want more, let's face it, they can buy two, no-one's going to stop them doing that - like the breathless, wheezing juggernaut that works on my floor who gets in the lift in the morning with what I assume is 2 large full fat, full sugar lattes.

 

04/02/2013 at 12:11
popsider wrote (see)

There are a range of things they could do but I would go further than voluntary agreements.   Maybe ban advertising and make any drink or food judged to be over an unhealthy level of refined sugar be sold with cigarette style labels - name of product, health warning and pictures of Shane McGowan's teeth or a diabetic ulcerated foot or similar.  Diet drinks could be labelled similarly but with warnings they are full of chemicals that will make your appetite go haywire and probably give you cancer.  In other words let people have the unpalatable truth about it at the point they consume it.

Yes, I'd go with that idea.

As it happens, I don't think you'd need to go that far.

If the Food Standards Agency introduce compulsory front of pack 'traffic light' labeling (they've been discussing it back and forth for years now, for fat, salt sugars etc, though not for things like artificial sweeteners, which perhaps should also be considered, as you say), manufacturers would begin to self-regulate.

Most manufacturers and retailers don't want their products to be flagged up quite so overtly as "BAD", and will begin to change them accordingly. (Sainsbury's, for example, do have voluntary front of pack traffic light labelling on most of their own brand products and, when they first introduced it, they actively changed many of their recipes so that they fell below the 'red' thresholds).

04/02/2013 at 12:52

I agree Juliefrazz, pressure on the manufacturers would be a better way to go than taxing the retail product.

The traffic light labelling is a really good idea, of course people would still buy donuts and burgers if they wanted them, but it might make them think a bit more and maybe have one pack instead of two!

Screamy, I know - I groaned as soon as I heard there was a human rights challenge to the soft drink restriction in New York. Not least because you can still buy the ginormo-sizes at certain places! Mind you, I read a post by someone criticising Michelle Obama's healthy eating and exercise for children campaign as "restricting our civil liberties by telling us what to feed our children". Gives new meaning to liberty fries!

04/02/2013 at 12:54
popsider wrote (see)

There are a range of things they could do but I would go further than voluntary agreements.   Maybe ban advertising and make any drink or food judged to be over an unhealthy level of refined sugar be sold with cigarette style labels - name of product, health warning and pictures of Shane McGowan's teeth or a diabetic ulcerated foot or similar.  Diet drinks could be labelled similarly but with warnings they are full of chemicals that will make your appetite go haywire and probably give you cancer.  In other words let people have the unpalatable truth about it at the point they consume it.

I love this idea, but I don't think it would ever happen. They could do a version of the advert with the guy smoking the tumor-ridden fag, but with 2l bottles of coke and rotten teeth.

04/02/2013 at 20:40

How many bottles of pop cause people to have teeth as mentioned or lose a foot due to diabetes?  Not everyone swigs cola like it's going out of fashion.

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