Ministers to consider sugar tax later in year

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Health Department officials have shown support for the introduction of a tax on drinks with a high sugar content in Jersey to help tackle obesity.

But the Treasury Department has remained more cautious and has suggested that the impact of the tax in other jurisdictions, such as the UK, where it was introduced in April, should be reviewed before a decision was made in the Island.

A States spokeswoman said that different ‘options’ of what shape a sugar tax in Jersey might take were being reviewed and would be presented to ministers before the end of 2018.

‘A number of ministers were considering options on how to deal with sugary drinks before the election earlier this year,’ she said. ‘In view of the action being taken by the UK government, current ministers will be updated on the options later this year.

‘In the meantime, officials will be working with Guernsey to monitor the UK levy and its impact on the availability of products and prices as part of a commitment to making healthier choices

The JEP reported earlier this week that since the introduction of the UK sugar tax, Cineworld Jersey had increased the price of a regular Pepsi, which has a high sugar content, by 20p in line with all of its outlets across the UK and Ireland.

The move prompted criticism from the Jersey Consumer Council, which said that the cost of a UK tax should not be passed on to Jersey consumers.

In the UK, drinks with a sugar content of more than five grammes per 100 ml are now taxed at 18p per litre and 24p for drinks with eight grammes or more. The move has seen some businesses that sell sugary drinks, such as fast food chains, criticised for passing the cost of the tax on to their customers.

Other firms, such as Barrs, which manufactures Irn Bru, have responded by reducing the sugar content of their products.

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