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NIR Rules Out Sugar Tax - For Now!

The Northern Ireland DUP Health Minister rules out any new levy or tax regulation changes on sugary drinks. Well, that's at least for the time being.

Note: A government press release confirmed that promotions of unhealthy foods (e.g. food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar) will be restricted starting in April 2022.

NO SUGAR TAX: But, health experts are still urging parents to make healthier food choices.

The warning comes after concerns that some children consume as much sugar as their own body weight each year.

Type 2 Diabetes Linked to Sugar

In fact, type 2 diabetes has links with poor diet, living unhealthy lifestyles, and obesity. That is why nutritionists say a tax should get introduced to increase the cost of sugar-rich food and sugary drinks.

Sugary drinks and food gets the blame for obesity in children. But, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) assembly ruled out a levy on sugary drinks – for now!

An Assembly debate on the issue followed soon after. The UKIP Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) David McNarry tabled the debate.

The politician wants further considerations of a sugar tax. He also asked them to prepare a report for Stormont’s health committee.

He is sticking to a call for a sugar tax in the absence of a complete sugar ban. Estimates suggest that a tax would add about 7p to the price of a 330ml can of fizzy drink.

Education is Needed: Not Sugar Tax

This position puts him at odds with his party leader. He had previously said that ‘education‘ is what’s needed to combat obesity – not a monetary levy.

Arguments continued as others stated that government has the power to set the standards for others to follow. Positive action would lead to increased protection. In particular, it would lead to better health for children’s teeth.

One study involved more than 3,000 youngsters aged between four and 10. It showed that some five-year-olds are consuming the equivalent of their body weight in sugar each year. This is showing drastic repercussions on their health and wellbeing.

There is a huge call to have sugar options removed, and especially for children. Some fear telling mums and dads what to do. But, there are parents ‘seemingly’ oblivious to the health dangers of sugar.

It seems some large supermarkets are in favour of new laws. They condone a 50% reduction in the sugar content of chocolate bars, biscuits, cakes, breakfast cereals and fizzy drinks. This gets viewed as a dramatic U-turn for most supermarkets and it highlights the way forward.

Welsh Assembly Backs Sugar Tax

The Welsh Assembly has backed the idea of a sugar tax – in principle. They highlighted the experiences of countries such as France, Hungary, and Mexico. Similar measures already got approved in these countries.

The well-known celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, also stepped up to the table. He backed Plaid Cymru’s policy. This followed his high-profile meeting on the issue with Prime Minister David Cameron. The TV chef said he based his arguments for reducing sugar content in our food products on the evidence of doctors and scientists.


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Levy on Sugary Drinks Ruled Out in Northern Ireland – For Now!