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UK Sugar Levy 'An Additional Burden On Pubs'

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

23 August 2016


The UK's proposed new Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) "will come as an additional tax on pubs," according to Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association.

The Government last week launched a consultation on the SDIL, which forms part of its broader Childhood Obesity Strategy. The SDIL will be charged to producers and importers of soft drinks with added sugar. It would apply to volumes of added sugar drinks with a total sugar content of five grams or more per 100 milliliters, with a higher rate for drinks with eight grams or more. It would not apply to drinks where no sugar is added, or to alcoholic beverages with alcoholic content above 0.5 percent ABV, which cannot lawfully be sold to under-18s. The rates have not yet been set.

Responding to the Government's initiative, Simmonds said: "Whilst this is a strategy aimed at targeting childhood obesity, we are concerned that some measures contained in the report will ultimately increase the tax burden on pubs and put up prices of soft drinks for pubgoers."

Simmonds pointed out that pubs already face high levels of taxation, explaining that beer duty and business rates (property tax) have a substantial impact.

She welcomed the fact that pubs will not be required to register under the tax – liability for the levy will arise at the point of production or importation – but expressed her concern that non-alcoholic beers could be caught in its scope.

"Whilst we appreciate that the Government is continuing to look at how these could be excluded, a sugar tax on beverages aimed at providing a low-strength alternative for adults is not within the spirit of the strategy," she said.

TAGS: tax | business | property tax | law | United Kingdom | Health tax | trade association | trade

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