Mon | Dec 17, 2018

NGO's support tax on sugary drinks

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says that non-governmental organisations' partners have been championing the call for a tax on sugary drinks, pointing out the policy success in other jurisdictions.

"They have made the call because they believe that fiscal measures, accompanying other measures that we are putting in place, would have the greatest impact in reducing demand for excessive sugary consumption," according to Tufton.

"It has been the case in a number of countries; if you look at the UK (United Kingdom), they have actually introduced a tax on the levels of sugar above the recommended level. So if they say six grams and you have eight, you pay a tax on the two additional grams, and there is evidence to support that that tax has worked," he said.

Tufton said that the Government has not taken a decision on that strategy, but plans to deal with the restrictions in schools.

"The Government will go ahead with restrictions on sugary drinks effective January 1, 2019, so it's not a total ban, but a restriction with a gradual reduction in the amount of sugar per litre until we get to the World Health Organization requirement of 2.5 grams per 100 millilitre," Tufton stated.

Barbados and Dominica introduced taxes on sugary beverages in 2015.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com