How the sugar tax works:
In Budget 2018 the Government introduced a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks to apply from 1st May. It applies to non-alcoholic, water and juice-based drinks which have added sugar and a total sugar content of 5 grams or more per 100ml.
These products are seen to have little nutritional value and the Department of Health advocate limiting consumption to a maximum of once or twice per week.
Pure fruit juices that do not contain added sugar are not subject to the tax due to nutrition value, vitamins and fibre they provide.
However, if sugar is added to these drinks then they become liable to the tax.
Dairy products are outside the scope of the tax on the grounds that dairy offers both nutritional value, such as calcium and protein.
Rates of Tax
The rate of tax applied to each drink will be based upon the sugar content.
Sugar sweetened drinks with less than 5 grams of sugar per 100ml will be outside the scope of the tax.
If the sugar content is 5 grams or more but less than 8 grams per 100ml a tax of 20c per litre will apply and for sugar sweetened drinks with a sugar content of 8 grams or more the rate will be 30c per litre.
Diabetes Ireland welcomes the sugar tax announced by the Minister for Finance in the budget.
Globally there has been a 10 fold increase in children and teenagers with obesity in the last 40 years. Ms Sinead Powell, Senior Dietitian said “We could continue to debate whether the tax will change behaviour over time but we cannot get away from the fact that sugary drinks have no added benefit to a healthy diet and contribute to obesity and Type 2 diabetes”
Diabetes Ireland see the tax as one part of the plan to implement the recommendations set out by Government in the Obesity Policy and Action Plan. However, we remain cognisant that sugar is essential to treat hypoglycaemia (a low blood glucose level), a side effect of using insulin and some diabetes medications, and we would like measures be put in place so these individuals requiring products covered by a sugar tax to treat this medical condition have the option of claiming a tax refund.