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Soft drink makers consider legal challenge against sugar tax

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1661 (Published 21 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1661
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The government’s plans to tax soft drinks containing sugar may be challenged in court by manufacturers who say that they are discriminatory because they exclude other drinks, such as fruit juices and milkshakes.

The soft drinks levy, a surprise addition to the 2016 budget, will see soft drinks containing more than 5 g of sugar per 100 mL taxed at a rate of 18p a litre and those containing over 8 g taxed at 24p a litre.1 The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, said that talks would be held with the industry over the introduction of the levy, which would not start until 2017-18.

The industry will not commit itself in advance of such talks, but Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said that all …

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