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'War On Sugar' Announced By Major Parties Ahead Of 2016 General Election

Several of the major political parties in Ireland have pledged to introduce a levy on sugar- sweetened drinks should they emerge victorious from this week’s General Election, as part of their plans to tackle obesity.

Fine Gael's election manifesto promises the introduction of a 10 cent levy on a can of soda (€24.64 per hectolitre), to be introduced from 2018, ‘following extensive consultation with industry, the Revenue Commissioners and other stakeholders'.

Fianna Fáil, meanwhile, is promising a six cent per can levy, which it says will 'raise €71 million annually, according to Department of Finance estimates'.

Labour, too, is pledging to introduce a levy, at a volumetric rate of €36.96 per hectolitre, a 15 cent increase in the cost of a can of soft drink. It is committed to introducing said levy 'within the first year of being returned to Government'.

Last week, the Irish Beverage Council (IBC) slammed the proposals as 'political posturing', calling for an evidence-based approach. “In the debate on a sugar tax, simple, verifiable facts are being ignored in favour of populist sound bites based on ill-informed opinion," said IBC director Kevin McPartlan.

Other measures pledged by the major parties in their respective manifestos include Fine Gael promising to 'increase the excise duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes by 45 cent per year, with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products', as well as plans to 'reduce average alcohol consumption from 11 litres per annum to 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per annum by 2020'.

Fianna Fáil is looking to establish an Office of Alcohol Control, which it says will aim to holistically address the diverse drivers and consequences of harmful alcohol consumption in Ireland.

Labour, too, has pledged to increase tobacco duties 'each year to yield approximately €260 million after five years'.

© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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